Projects Seeking Funding:
Preventing Peanut Allergy and Anaphylaxis
The research program of Drs. Manel Jordana and Susan Waserman is focused on providing better diagnosis, management and treatment of food allergy, especially peanut allergy. Clinical studies are combined with experimental studies to reveal how and why an individual becomes allergic, identify treatments that may prevent severe allergic reactions, and understand why peanut allergy often is life-long.
The research program on food allergy encompasses two distinct but complementary components: a clinical arm and a preclinical arm. The clinical arm, directed by Dr. Susan Waserman, is focused on research to better diagnose, manage and treat food allergy, especially peanut allergy. At the present time, there are two ongoing clinical trials in peanut allergic children; the first one is a desensitization study (exposure to escalating doses of peanut) in the presence or absence of H1 and H2 blocking medication; the second is a study to investigate the issue of peanut threshold reactivity.
Knowledge of peanut thresholds should provide a possible safe level of peanut for over 90 % of peanut allergic individuals. This may also inform future food labeling, rather than the “may contain” which is the current practice. These clinical studies extensively use DBPCFC (double blind placebo controlled food challenges), a procedure that requires dedicated infrastructure and logistics. We have developed the expertise and capability to perform such challenges in a controlled and safe fashion.
The preclinical arm, directed by Dr. Jordana is focused on addressing three main issues: a) the ontogeny of peanut allergy, i.e. why someone becomes allergic to peanut; 2) the molecular basis of peanut-induced anaphylaxis with the central aim of identifying treatments that may prevent at least severe allergic reactions in peanut allergic individuals; and c) deciphering the cellular and molecular basis of peanut allergy persistence with the central aim of uncovering strategies to disable the cells that maintain peanut-specific immunoglobulin production. These studies are carried out in a variety of well-established experimental models in mice. Some of these studies are conducted in collaboration with academic researchers in the US as well as with biotech companies in Canada and the US. The Jordana/Waserman research program has also established important collaborations at both the clinical and preclinical levels within McMaster University including the Chemistry Department (Faculty of Sciences) for the application of metabolomics, and the Axenic/Gnotobiotic Facility (Farncombe Institute, Faculty of Health Sciences) for the study of the microbiota in the development and maintenance of peanut allergy. Collectively, the Jordana/Waserman research program on food allergy offers a seamless transition between basic discovery and clinical translation.
Read more about Dr. Jordana's research on Pubmed.
Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine
McMaster Immunology Research Centre McMaster University, MDCL-4015 1280 Main Street West Hamilton ON Canada L8S 4K1
Phone: 905-525-9140 ext. 22374