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Allergy Immunology

The Allergy Immunology Group is currently focused on investigating immunological mechanisms underlying the development of allergic disorders and is conducting multicentre randomized controlled clinical trials evaluating novel treatment interventions for prevention and treatment of food allergies. The group also collaborates on a number of longitudinal cohort studies including the Barwon Infant Study, HealthNuts and SchoolNuts.

Allergic Diseases

Food allergy, anaphylaxis, eczema

Allergic diseases, such as food allergy, anaphylaxis, eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis, are amongst the commonest chronic conditions affecting children in Westernised countries. Rates of allergic disease have increased exponentially in recent decades. Understanding the immune mechanisms leading to disease and identifying novel approaches to modulate immune responses in order to treat or prevent allergic disease are research priorities.  

The Allergy Immunology group is currently investigating immune mechanisms leading to food allergies and the use of probiotics as novel approaches to treat or prevent these allergies. The group is currently conducting multicentre randomized controlled clinical trials evaluating a combination probiotic food oral immunotherapy approach for the treatment of food allergies.

The group is also collaborating on randomized trials for prevention of food allergy (Pebbles study and VITALITY study), which are investigating the roles of a skin barrier cream and Vitamin D supplementation for preventing food allergy respectively.

Group Leaders: 
Dr Adriana Chebar Lozinsky
Role: 
Research Clinician
Dr Julie Belousoff
Role: 
Research Clinician
Melanie Lloyd
Role: 
Senior Study Coordinator
Christine Axelrad
Role: 
Research Nurse Coordinator
Sigrid Pitkin
Role: 
Senior Research Nurse
Andy Cantlay
Role: 
Research Nurse
Dr Sarah Ashley
Role: 
Research Officer
Danika Schepis
Role: 
Senior Research Assistant
Shilana Yip
Role: 
Research Assistant
Anne Hampton
Role: 
Project Assistant
Kuang Hsiao
Role: 
Honorary Fellow
Dr Agnes Leung
Role: 
Honorary Fellow
Dr Ee Lyn Su
Role: 
Research Associate
A/Prof Adrian Lowe
Role: 
Honorary Fellow
Shaie O'Brien
Role: 
Research Associate
Simone Hamilton
Role: 
Research Nurse
Dr Dean Tey
Role: 
Research Associate
  • PPOIT-003 study (Probiotic and Peanut Oral Immunotherapy) - This project evaluates a novel approach to treatment of peanut allergy, with the aim of inducing remission of peanut allergy (sustained unresponsiveness). Immune mechanisms underpinning remission (sustained unresponsiveness) are investigated. Recruitment for this study has closed. The study is expected to be completed at the end of 2020. Participants who complete the PPOIT-003 study are eligible to enroll in a long-term follow up study (PPOIT-003LT).
  • PEAT study (Probiotic Egg Allergen Immunotherapy for Treatment of Egg Allergy) - This project is evaluating a combination probiotic egg oral immunotherapy for treating children with egg allergy (The PEAT Trial). The aim is to test whether this approach will be effective at inducing remission of egg allergy. Immune mechanisms driving remission of egg allergy will also be investigated.
  • PrEMO study (Probiotic and Egg or Milk Oral Immunotherapy) - An open-label study of probiotic and hen’s egg or cow’s milk oral immunotherapy to establish safety and tolerability of this approach in children with egg or milk allergy.
  • Barwon Infant Study - The Barwon Infant Study (BIS) is a major population-based birth cohort study being conducted by the Child Health Research Unit (CHRU) at Barwon Health in collaboration with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and Deakin University. The aim of the BIS is to investigate the role of early life microbial exposure in immune programming and allergic disease risk (Barwon Infant Study). Other studies examining effects on cardiovascular disease, lung development and neurodevelopment are also ongoing as part of the overarching Barwon Infant Study
  • HealthNuts study - The HealthNuts study of 5,300 children is the world's first comprehensive population-based study of food allergy with objective measurement of true food allergy, enabling a better understanding of the natural history of allergic disorders including food allergy, asthma, eczema and hay fever and the risk factors for developing these conditions in childhood. The study findings have important implications for clinical guidelines and public health policy (HealthNuts).
  • SchoolNuts study - A population-based study of the prevalence of challenge-proven food allergy and predictors of severe adverse reactions to food in early adolescence. This project aims to identify the lifestyle factors which are common to children suffering from food allergy, assess the impact of food allergy on risk of asthma and severity and identify factors which are likely to modify control of food allergy and asthma (SchoolNuts).
  • VITALITY study -The aims of this study are to investigate whether vitamin D supplementation in early life is effective for preventing food allergy. The relationship between food allergy, vitamin D and immune function in infants is also being investigated (Vitality Trial). 
  • Pebbles study - A randomised controlled trial to investigate whether applying a topical skin barrier cream in early life is effective for preventing eczema, food allergy and sensitisation (Pebbles Study).
  • CRE in Eradicating Food Allergy: Prevention, Cure and Reducing Adverse Events – The aim of this Centre of Research Excellence CRE is to eradicate food allergy through improved prevention and cure, supported by evidence generated by a collaborative network of research. An additional aim is to improve management of food allergy through public health policy and clinical pathways. (Centre for Food and Allergy Research)
Funding: 

Previous 5 years

  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
  • RCH foundation
  • Prota therapeutics
  • Ilhan Food Allergy Foundation (Australian Food Allergy Foundation)
  • Bayer Australia
  • Caponero Group
Collaborations: