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Harnessing primary immunodeficiencies to understand and treat human allergic disease

2021 AIFA Allergy and Immunology Research Grant

A/Professor Cindy Ma, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

This project will investigate immune cells from primary immunodeficiency (PID) patients with atopic/allergic disease with the goal of revealing new mechanisms that cause atopy.

A/Prof Cindy Ma

Allergy and atopic diseases are amongst the fastest growing chronic conditions in Australia, with one in three individuals affected by allergies. They represent major health issues in the  population and impose significant medical, social and financial burdens on our health care system.

PIDs are caused by germline pathogenic mutations in genes that affect the development and/or function of cells that are required for a healthy immune system. Patients with PIDs are susceptible to recurrent and life-threatening infections. Interestingly, some PID patients also suffer from severe atopy and allergies. A/Professor Ma postulates that the defective genes that cause atopic disease in PID patients are the same genes that give rise to allergies in the general population. She hopes to discover pathways and/or molecules that cause allergic disease that can be targeted with new therapeutics to alleviate symptoms. 

AIFA Allergy and Immunology Research Grant of $30,000