FAG supports study on modulation of allergic sensitisation patterns in school children from the DASH study by chronic parasite infections


In this project funded by FAG with CHF 25’000.- Dr. med. Oliver Brandt and his research team are investigating whether infections with parasites (helminths, protozoa) specifically reduce the risk of sensitisation to certain house dust mite allergen components

The Freie Akademische Gesellschaft Basel (Free Academic Society in Basel, FAG) is contributing CHF 25’000.- to the implementation of the research project "Modulation of allergic sensitisation patterns in school children by chronic parasite infections". The applicant and study leader, Dr. med Oliver Brandt, is a senior physician in the field of dermatology and allergy at the University Hospital Basel.

The project is taking place in cooperation with Prof. Jürg Utzinger and PD Dr. Christian Schindler from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and Prof. Uwe Pühse and Dr. Ivan Müller from the Department of Sport, Exercise and Health (DSBG) from the University of Basel.

Bronchial asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and one of the most common chronic diseases in adolescents. In most cases, it is an allergy-related asthma, with house dust mite allergens playing a prominent role as a cause worldwide. Firstly, sensitiation to house dust mite allergens predisposes to further sensitisation ( so-called polysensitisation) and thus to the development of bronchial asthma, and secondly, house dust mite sensitisation in early childhood is the strongest independent risk factor associated with asthma. Therefore, the two main aims of the investigations are:

  1. to identify whether specific sensitisation patterns in house dust mite allergic patients are associated with certain clinical manifestations of allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis/rhinoconjunctivitis.
  2. to identify whether inverse associations between chronic infections with certain parasites and sensitisations to house dust mite allergen components exist, which would indicate specific immunomodulatory and thus protective properties of certain parasites against sensitization to particular house dust mite antigens.

For the investigations, the research team intends to determine the specific IgE antibodies in already existing 876 serum samples from the DASH (Disease, Activity and Schoolchildren’s Health) study by means of a multiarray system. According to the team’s hypothesis, the results of these investigations would facilitate the assessment of the severity of allergic diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract based on antibody constellations in the future and provide prognostic indications for the course of respiratory allergies. In addition, house dust mite extracts for hyposensitisation treatments could be produced specifically according to individual sensitisation patterns with regard to their allergen composition.

If you are interested and have further questions, please contact Dr. med. Oliver Brandt (Oliver.Brandt_MD@gmx.net).