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Immunology
(Cezmi Akdis)

Dermatology
(Mübeccel Akdis)

Molecular Allergology
(Reto Crameri)

Molecular Immunology
(Liam O‘Mahony)

Vaccine Development
(Claudio Rhyner)

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WIRM

Head: Reto Crameri
Degree: Prof. Ph.D.


Phone:+41 (0) 81 410 08 49
E-mail: crameri(a)siaf.uzh.ch

Group members:
  1. Anja Heider
  2. Patrick Westermann

Molecular Allergology

Molecular Allergology

Allergic diseases are mediated by inappropriate responses against normally innocuous environmental allergens and include allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma, and atopic dermatitis. The incidence of allergic diseases is gradually increasing and at present around 30% of the population in industrialized countries is suffering from allergy, asthma or atopic dermatitis. Allergic diseases have progressed to a highly relevant socio-economic problem strongly affecting both, quality of life of affected individuals, and health care burden. Recent surveys show that already one out of four Swiss individuals, or 2.3 millions, are suffering from allergy. The tendency is still increasing and the treatment of allergic diseases, together with the loss of working days are causing an estimated net yearly lost to the Swiss economy amounting to around 3 billions sFr. Although pharmacological treatments of allergic diseases are able to alleviate the symptoms, they are not able to cure the disease. The only therapy able to cure allergic diseases and to confer a long lasting protection remains the allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT). Empirical work going back to the beginning of the last century showed that immunization with allergen extract can be an efficient way to cure allergy. Despite the big advantage of a curative therapy only few patients chose to undergo an immunotherapy mainly because of a treatment time spanning several years, and of the frequent therapy-related side effects ranging from local skin irritations to severe anaphylactic reactions. The most promising way to increase the patients’ compliance would be to develop therapeutic schedules able to cure allergy in a short time with a few injections in the absence of relevant side effects. We have initiated two projects aimed to render immunotherapy for IgE-mediated allergic diseases faster and safer: targeted elimination of memory B cells specific for IgE, and MHC class-II targeting allergy vaccines.

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