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AIFA announces 2017 research grants

4 December 2017

Dr. Marcia Munoz and teamThe AIFA Board is pleased to announce that a project entitled “A new approach to overcome a childhood autoinflammatory disease” led by Dr Marcia Munoz of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research has been chosen as the recipient of a $30,000 AIFA research grant. This brings the total AIFA grant figure to $130,000 in the last 4 years.


A NEW APPROACH TO OVERCOME A CHILDHOOD AUTOINFLAMMATORY DISEASE

Mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD) is a lifelong autoinflammatory disease that usually appears in infancy. It is characterised by regular episodes of fever often accompanied by rashes, headaches, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, vomiting and diarrhea.

Understanding FPIES research results

FPIES Group 2017In 2015, AIFA funded a research project seeking to advance our understanding of food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). FPIES is an allergic disorder that occurs in approximately 1 in 10,000 children. Most affected children have their first reaction before one year of age. The main symptom of FPIES is profuse vomiting, which can be accompanied by pallor, floppiness, hypotension and hypothermia. The most common triggers for FPIES in Australia are staple foods such as cow’s milk, rice, oats, soy and eggs. Rice remains the most common cause of FPIES in Australian infants. 

A $10,000 grant was awarded to a research team seeking to determine how the immune system reacts in children during an acute FPIES reaction. By better understanding how the immune system reacts, the team hopes to be able to direct potential diagnostic testing and treatments in the future. 

It was previously assumed that FPIES was caused by an immune cell, called a T-cell. However this research showed the innate immune system, which is the first line of immunological defence, is what was most activated in infants during their acute FPIES reaction.

AusPollen App questionnaire

aus pollen2017The Auspollen project was one of the first research projects funded by AIFA.  Auspollen continues to expand and now invites people with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and/or asthma that is made worse by allergens in the air, to evaluate free local AusPollen Apps. 

The Apps provide daily levels of pollen in the air and can be accessed on the AusPollen website www.pollenforecast.com.au or via iTunes, Google Play Apps, twitter and facebook.

To help evaluate usefulness of the AusPollen Apps and improve this service, please complete a short questionnaire before and after the pollen season. The questionnaire opens on October 20, 2017 and the link is http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/190401/43d7/)

This research will help us know where to locate future pollen count sites and determine if there are local triggers that make hay fever and asthma worse.

250K website for teens and young adults from the National Allergy Strategy

250K website The new National Allergy Strategy youth project’s 250K website was launched on 26 June by Minister Gillespie.

The 250K website is a hub for the 250,000 young Australians living with severe allergies, developed in response to a national online survey and focus groups sessions with teens and young adults.

Designed by young people for young people, the aim of this innovative website is to provide age-appropriate information and resources in a fun and informative way, to assist young people who are living with severe allergies, and to help them to feel more connected with other teens and young adults going through similar experiences.

A 250K slide set is also available at www.allergy.org.au/schools-childcare#slides, that schools can access to help increase awareness about severe allergies.

To access the website go to www.250K.org.au

This project was funded by the Australian Government.

The final report into the Victorian thunderstorm asthma event in November 2016 has prompted $15.56 million dollars in funding

thunderstorm-asthma-reportThe final report into last year's unprecedented thunderstorm asthma emergency in Victoria that is believed to have contributed to the deaths of nine people and sent many more to hospital, has been handed down.

While the report found no evidence that the extent or duration of this event could have been predicted, it does include 16 recommendations to ensure both the emergency management and health sectors are better prepared for future events.
The government has accepted all 16 recommendations in the report which include: 

  • More research to improve our understanding and treatment of thunderstorm asthma

  • Research to inform forecasting, modelling and response protocols

  • Emergency management training for hospitals and health workers

  • Education and engagement campaigns to assist communities to prepare for and respond to epidemic thunderstorm asthma

  • Increased monitoring and interpretation of pollen data

  • Improved real-time monitoring of data sources, including emergency department demand.

Back to school with allergies

school kidsAs children all around Australia start a new school year it is time to think of updating ASCIA action plans, making sure adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector devices are in date and informing the school and the teacher of a child's known allergies.

Our friends at Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and Western Sydney University have co-produced a new video to help parents of children with food allergies confidently make the transition from preschool and childcare to primary school. As the video points out, communication is the key to a smooth start to the school year.

AIFA announces 2016 research grants

The AIFA Board is pleased to announce two $10,000 grants, one supporting research into insect allergy treatment and the second that will improve development of a drug for allergy.  Over the past 3 years AIFA has provided a total of $100,000 in research grants.

Jack Jumper Ant Allergy

J J A Team

Allergies to venoms from stinging insects are one of the most common causes of severe allergic reactions in Australia, and cause more deaths than shark attacks, yet they are rarely reported. Symptoms include an all-over rash, swelling of tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting or a drop in blood pressure.

A $10,000 grant has been awarded to a research project that will assess whether treatment for allergic reactions to Jack Jumper Ant stings is effective. The Chief Investigator is Dr Pravin Hissaria, with Professor Bob Heddle and Dr Adriana (Thanh-Thai) Le on the project team based at SA Pathology in Adelaide. The title of the project is "Assessment of the Basophil Activation Test as a tool for monitoring therapeutic responses to Jack Jumper Ant Venom Immunotherapy".

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