The anaphylaxis project
In the anaphylaxis project three postdocs collaborate on the research topic of anaphylaxis. The aim of the project is to develop better diagnosis and treatment to prevent death through anaphylaxis (allergic shock).
For reasons that still remain unclear, some individuals respond violently to ingestion of certain food-stuffs, medications, bee-stings and other factors. This may cause anaphylaxis, i.e. allergic shock or very severe life-threatening reactions. There is a distinct lack of simple blood tests or other objective measures to predict the scale of these reactions and treatment is largely limited to adrenaline injections once the reactions have occurred. There is a great need to learn more about the factors that precipitate the reactions and to learn from afflicted (surviving) individuals how they have experienced the reactions.
In this project, three postdocs work together in a coordinated effort to better describe the risk-factors and course of these severe allergic reactions as well as to identify new test methods and novel treatments. The project focuses on food allergy as the anaphylactic reactions are often triggered by this route. Our long-term goal is to be able to identify individuals at risk at an early stage, so that effective prevention and treatment methods can be implemented, in order for such individuals to be able to lead a “normal” life, without the fear of risking death every time they visit a café or go for a walk in the countryside etc.
Project 1: Epidemiology and the clinical perspective
Postdoc: Jennifer Protudjer. Supervisors: Magnus Wickman and Anna Bergström, Institute of Environmental Medicine, KI.
Project 2: Biomarkers, testing afflicted individuals to identify strategies for prevention
Postdoc: Alexander Fauland. Supervisors: Craig Wheelock, Dept. of Medical Biophysics and Biochemistry, and Gunnar Nilsson, Dept. of Medicine Solna
Project 3: Clinical science, the clinical course and treatment of anaphylaxis
Postdoc: Mirja Vetander. Supervisors: Caroline Nilsson, Dept. of Clinical Science and Education Södersjukhuset, and Barbro Dahlén, Dept. of Medicine Huddinge
Samples taken in the clinic have been measured on the metabolomics platform in order to identify biomarkers that can be used to identify those at risk of anaphylaxis and those who are safe. In addition, life style and environment are being studied to identify risk and protection factors for the development of food allergy and anaphylaxis.