TCD Scientist Awarded €1.68 million to Develop New Potential Treatment for Allergies
Aug 29, 2007
A team of scientists, led by Dr Padraic Fallon, in the School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, have been awarded €1.68 million by Science Foundation Ireland to develop new potential treatments for allergic diseases.
Ireland has one of the highest incidence in the world of allergic diseases, such as asthma and atopic dermatitis. Five hundred thousand people suffer from asthma in Ireland and it is ranked as the 4th highest country in the world with the disease. Irish children have particularly high levels of allergies, with 3 out of 10 as opposed to 1 in 10 in Italy suffering from asthma.
A possible theory in relation to such high levels of allergies in Ireland and other developed countries, is that improved diets, cleaner environments and the reduction of infectious diseases, have in turn contributed to the immune system to malfunction and the formation of allergies.
Dr Fallon’s research involves investigating how the absence of worm infections in developed countries may predispose people to allergies. Prior to moving to Trinity College, Dr Fallon was a Wellcome Trust Fellow in the University of Cambridge. Dr Fallon’s immunology group has extensive expertise in this area of animal models of inflammatory disease and translational research and has previously discovered how to use worms as a therapeutic to prevent disease in experimental models of anaphylaxis and asthma, and also inflammatory bowel disease. The Science Foundation Ireland award to Dr Fallon will fund a team of five scientists that will investigate the mechanism that worms use to suppress allergies as the next step for developing new treatments.
Commenting on the award Dr Fallon stated: “This funding from Science Foundation Ireland will allow the formation of a team of scientists to consolidate our initial discoveries and make scientific breakthroughs that will lead to new therapies to treat or cure asthma. It is significant that Science Foundation Ireland are supporting our immunology research on diseases that directly affect many Irish families and in particular their children.”
Dr Fallon and his team are based in the Institute of Molecular Medicine in the Trinity Centre for Health Science at St James’s Hospital, Dublin. This location is strategic to translating Dr Fallon’s biomedical research into a patient context through collaborations with clinical scientists and also other universities and organisations.
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