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Worldwide, the rise in prevalence of allergic diseases has continued for more than 50 years

Over 40% of the world’s population has some type of allergic sensitivity

Allergic sensitisation in the Asia-Pacific region is as prevalent as in developed regions of the world

We develop allergen extracts and purified allergens for the diagnosis of allergic sensitisation

Opportunity for partnership

The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) is seeking to partner with in-vitro diagnostic companies, in order to advance current in-vitro tests for the diagnosis of allergic sensitisation to inhalant and ingested allergens.

The goal is to identify and develop more de ned and fully characterised allergen preparations, specific for the Asia-Pacific region and to expand currently available in-vitro diagnostics (IVD).

This will enable us to utilise our detailed knowledge of molecular immune responses to purified and recombinant allergens in children and adults, and allow early detection and better management for this often life long disease.

Scientific team

Andreas Lopata, PhD
Associate Professor and Co-Director, Centre for Biodiscovery & Molecular Development of Therapeutics, AITHM, JCU, Townsville

Sandip Kamath, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Biodiscovery & Molecular Development of Therapeutics, AITHM, JCU, Townsville

Dianne Campbell, MD/PhD
Chair of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Children’s Hospital Westmead, Sydney and Head of the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney

The project

Allergic sensitisation is increasing worldwide, with up to 40% of the population having some type of allergic reaction (WHO).

Allergen sources include pollen, indoor inhalants, insects, drugs and food. Adverse reactions to food are often difficult to diagnose and different antibodies responses have to be included in the diagnosis.

Scientists have proposed a number of reasons as to why this is, including reduced exposure to intestinal infections, the increased prevalence of high-fat diets and increases in formula-milk feeding during infancy.

Among other genetic and environmental factors, it is thought that these trends may contribute to a loss of immunological tolerance, resulting in allergic sensitisation to specific allergenic proteins.

We have already identified and characterised a number of allergen sources and utilised these in-vitro diagnostics for the quantification of sensitisation to insects, pigeons, inhalants and food in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

We are now working towards developing platforms diagnostics, including microarray and ELISA as well as low cost point-of-care devices specifically targeted to the Asia-Pacific region.

The technology

Our technology comprises the identification, isolation and molecular-immunological characterisation of the allergic sensitisation causing allergens.

The major allergenic proteins have been identified and characterised for a range of allergens sources, specific to the Asia-Pacific region.

These allergens are used to detect and quantify specific IgG and IgE antibodies, using immunoblotting and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

These specific diagnostics also allow the distinction of allergic sensitisation or adverse reactions to food sources.

Our market advantage is our extensive knowledge of the molecular characteristics of allergens specific to our region through our location in the tropical region of Australia. We are therefore able to source the allergens better and establish the diagnostics with access to local patients, allowing the production of low cost point of care diagnostics.

We expect that these in-vitro diagnostics will be superior in detecting and quantifying sensitisation to inhalant and food allergen sources, specific to our region and be more cost-effective than current technologies.

The novel in-vitro diagnostics can be operated by any general practitioners, thus providing better patient management.

Applications - market size

Allergies are a significant and growing health problem in the United States, Europe and throughout the world with over 40% of the population having some type of allergy. The social and economic costs are vast, with over $US40B p.a.

With almost 50% of the world population living in the tropics and up to 40% having some type of adverse reactions, the actual market size for these IVD products encompasses over 20% of the world population.

There are no currently approved medical therapies to cure food allergies or prevent allergic sensitisation.

Patients with allergies or adverse reactions manage their condition by strict allergen avoidance and often carrying epinephrine auto-injectors for use in case of accidental exposure.