Giving children and adolescents with egg allergy small but increasing daily doses of egg white powder holds the possibility of developing into a way to enable some of them to eat egg-containing foods without having allergic reactions, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study results will appear online in the July 19th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine .
World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). The event raises awareness about asthma and works to improve asthma care around the world. This year’s theme is “You Can Control Your Asthma”. It aims to continue the focus on asthma control described in the latest version of the GINA guidelines .
Investigators have developed a new mathematical approach to analyze molecular data derived from complex mixtures of immune cells. This approach, when combined with well-established techniques, readily identifies changes in small samples of human whole blood, and has the potential to distinguish between health and disease states.
Led by Mark Davis, Ph.D., and Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, Calif., the team of investigators received support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute, all part of the National Institutes of Health. Details about their work appear online at Nature Methods.
“Defining the status of the human immune system in health and disease is a major goal of human immunology research,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “A method allowing clinicians to accurately and quickly characterize the many different immune cells in human blood would be a valuable research and diagnostic tool.”
Over the past 15 years, the technology for gene expression microarrays, which allow investigators to identify and measure relative amounts of many different genes in parallel, has advanced tremendously. Today researchers can measure nearly every gene in the human genome using very small amounts of blood. However, blood contains numerous types of immune cells, such as lymphocytes, basophils and monocytes, and when microarray analysis is performed on this mixture, the interpretation of the results becomes problematic.
Scientists have identified a region of a human chromosome that is associated with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a recently recognized allergic disease. People with EoE frequently have difficulty eating or may be allergic to one or more foods. This study further suggests that a suspected so-called master allergy gene may play a role in the development of this rare but debilitating disorder.
EoE is characterized by inflammation and accumulation of a specific type of immune cell, called an eosinophil, in the esophagus. Symptoms of EoE vary with age: In young children a major symptom is spitting up food, while in older children and adults, the condition may cause food to become stuck in the esophagus. These symptoms may improve when a person with EoE is restricted to a liquid formula diet that contains no protein allergens or is placed on a diet that lacks six highly allergenic foods (milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanut and seafood). EoE is not the same as more common food allergies, which also have serious consequences. Little is known about what causes EoE, but the disease runs in families suggesting that specific genes may be involved.
Investigators led by Marc Rothenberg, M.D., Ph.D., at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center Hospital, and supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, both part of the National Institutes of Health, performed a genome-wide association analysis in children with EoE and healthy children. This type of study detects markers of genetic variation across the entire human genome and allows researchers to zero in on a region of a chromosome to identify genes that influence health and the development of disease.
Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases National Institutes of Health on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day February 7, 2010
African-Americans continue to bear the largest and most disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. While black men and women made up 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2007, they accounted for more than half of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses that year and nearly half of all Americans living with HIV/AIDS. For black women ages 35 to 44, HIV was the third leading cause of death in 2006. In our nation’s capital, whose HIV/AIDS epidemic is among the worst in the United States, 6.5 percent of black men are living with the virus — a percentage higher than that of any other racial, ethnic or gender group in the city, and higher than in many countries in Africa.