Allergy Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Vaccination is one of the most efficient tools in human medicine with unsurpassed cost-benefits. The steady increase of allergic diseases and the lack of adequate therapies pose a high burden not only on the quality of life of affected individuals, but also on public health services. Immunization against allergy is usually associated with therapeutic intervention in already sensitized individuals. The term “allergy vaccination” is therefore frequently used to denote the application of specific immunotherapy. In vaccinology the term “prophylactic” refers to a vaccine that will prevent a disease before its manifestation. While being common procedure for vaccines against pathogens, this concept has also been adopted for non-infectious diseases, such as type I allergy.
In the group of Josef Thalhamer and Richard Weiss, novel concepts of prophylactic as well as therapeutic approaches for the treatment of allergies are investigated, including
· Genetic vaccination with RNA and DNA
· Allergen specific immunotherapy via the skin
· Allergen-nanoparticle formulations
Furthermore, general immunological questions regarding the induction and maintenance of allergic diseases are addressed, such as the role of Langerhans cells in induction of immunity or tolerance, the influence of the fold stability on immunogenicity and allergenicity of proteins, and the natural immune response of non-atopic persons living in different environments.
J. Thalhamer is