The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, or FAAN, recently announced that it has funded a study focusing on genetic components of anaphylaxis, or a severe allergic reaction. The FAAN research grant supports scientists who are attempting to improve the lives of people with food allergies.
According toBusiness Wire,FAAN recently awarded $260,000 to fund a two-year study titled “Leukocyte signaling during human anaphylaxis.” The study, headed by Dr. Simon G.A. Brown of Australia’s Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine, will examine how the immune system is activated during anaphylactic shock. He hopes that this research will impact future treatments and preventative measures for reactions food allergies, the leading cause of anaphylaxis.
In awarding the grant, FAAN’s CEO, Maria L. Acebal, explained “Food allergy among children is on the rise, so it is critical for us to gain knowledge about the mechanisms of anaphylaxis in order to try to develop a way to treat it effectively… Dr. Brown’s research will attempt to get us closer to these answers, a life-saving endeavor so critical to families living with food allergies.”
Dr. Brown’s research team uses a ‘genome-wide’ approach to identify genetic factors that may contribute to the specific symptoms and severity of anaphylaxis by analyzing blood samples from patients treated for anaphylaxis in hospital emergency rooms.
He has previously undertaken another study by FAAN. He explains that the latest research builds on that previous study, saying “In our previous FAAN study we defined which cytokines –messenger proteins produced by cells– are involved in human anaphylaxis… We then formed a hypothesis that white cells in the blood may be a key part of the early inflammatory process that converts mild reactions into severe ones.” He explained “By studying the genes that are activated very early during a severe anaphylactic reaction (on arrival in the Emergency Department), measuring how the activation of other genes proceeds over the next few hours, and correlating this with the concentrations of inflammatory substances in the blood, we may be able to identify this key link.”