Allergy Schools

  • Report from Allergy School in Estonia 2012

    Allergy School Report
    Asthma Exacerbation: Risk Factors and Management
    2 - 5 August 2012
    Tallinn, Estonia

    The EAACI Asthma Section organised the Allergy School on ‘Asthma Exacerbation: Risk Factors and Management’ from 2 till 5 August 2012. Both clinicians and scientists (69 participants) from all over Europe (Estonia, UK, Greece, Switzerland, France, Czech republic, Russia, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Albania) came together and discussed mechanisms and how to recognise and prevent asthma exacerbations. This school was organised in Tallinn and for the first time EAACI settled on Estonia.

    We were warmly welcomed by Svetlana Sergejeva (EE), Local Organiser and member of the Asthma Section. After that, Antoine Magnan (FR) introduced the epidemiology of asthma exacerbations and stressed the relevance for such a meeting on exacerbations in asthma. He closed by providing a definition on asthma exacerbation that was then open for discussion. His talk was followed by two speakers, Sebastian Johnston (UK) and Armin Braun (DE), who updated us on mechanisms of exacerbation in asthma. Sebastian Johnston presented data of his group on rhinovirus infection, which nicely showed an association between the respiratory symptoms, asthma control and rhinovirus infection over time. Furthermore, a delayed interferon (IFN)-lambda response was found upon infection with rhinovirus in moderate asthmatics. Armin Braun continued by convincing the audience about the contribution of neuro-immune crosstalk in asthma. For the first time, chairpersons did not guide sessions. Overall, this concept was very much appreciated for schools like these.

    After the coffee break, practical sessions were given by Svetlana Sergejeva, Les Ansley (UK), Pascal Demoly (FR) and Omer Kalayci (TR). These sessions allowed an interactive discussion on practical matters in follow-up of patients with asthma. Of importance was the proposal by Omer Kalayci to introduce personal action plans for guidance of asthma patients. The day was closed by a welcome dinner.

    During the second day of the meeting, Stefano Del Giacco (IT) opened with an important concept in asthma that is now getting a very hot topic: asthma endotypes and phenotypes. We are moving now towards a personalised medicine approach in order to deal with the heterogeneity of asthma patients and their response to treatment. Ashley Woodcock (UK) continued by talking about how we can assess response to treatment and how to monitor airway inflammation to prevent asthma exacerbations. As usual, Adnan Custovic (UK) gave a very animated talk on interactions between viruses and atopy keeping everyone awake. The benefits of exercise in asthma were next reviewed by Les Ansley. In the afternoon, Jurgen Schwarze (UK) and Sebastian Johnston gave very comprehensive talks on infection-induced asthma. The scientific part of the day was finished by a session on how to predict asthma exacerbations.

    Then, juniors went to the city centre for diner in a medieval restaurant. We also took some time to see the old town of Tallinn. We all enjoyed the city very much.

    On Saturday, Sejal Saglani (UK) presented her data on her cohort of severe treatment resistant asthmatic children. The design of the study was very much appreciated by the audience with a lot of interest and questions afterwards. Omer Kalayci and Michael Edwards continued this session on childhood asthma with ‘asthma exacerbations as phenotype determinants’ and ‘new viruses and asthma exacerbations’. All next sessions were dedicated to prevention and treatment of asthma. It was clear that we are still using same drugs now for many years. New drugs (e.g. biologicals) are under development but the costs for these drugs will be very high and only suitable for a well-defined population of asthmatics.

    Juniors presented their posters during informal talks at lunchtime. Five abstracted were selected for poster presentation and all of them received a travel grant. It remains challenging to increase the number of juniors actively involved during these nice events. In the afternoon, we visited a new maritime museum that was a former hangar for seaplanes. We got a clear overview of the history of that site and visited a submarine at the inside. Then it was time for the barbeque at the beach, which was on the terrains of a former prison. Some juniors took time to visit the prison.

    I think all participants enjoyed their stay in Tallinn and learned a lot during this four-day Allergy School. Congratulations to the Local Organising Committee, co-workers of EAACI and the Asthma Section!

    Sven Seys

    Junior representative of the EAACI Asthma Section
    Juniors Members and Affiliates Working Group
    Lab of clinical immunology – pneumology
    KU Leuven, Belgium
    Last updated: 14 October 2014
  • Report from Allergy School in Davos 2012

    EAACI/GA²LEN Allergy School

    From Skin to Lung – From Theory to Patients
    29 March – 1 April 2012
    Davos, Switzerland

    This EAACI/GA²LEN Allergy School was organised by EAACI Dermatology Section, Children‘s Allergy & Asthma Hospital in Davos, and Christine Kuhne - Center for Allergy Research and Education (CK-CARE). The aim of this school was to educate and stimulate the scientific and social contact between young physicians from all over Europe interested in the diagnosis and treatment of atopic dermatitis and atopic lung diseases.

    The meeting was held in Davos, Switzerland. A total of 65 participants (16 speakers and 49 participants) attended this school. In addition to the lectures given by the invited experts from Germany, Italy, Romania, Switzerland, United Kingdom, 10 abstracts and posters were presented. This Allergy School gave the attendees an understanding of atopic dermatitis and atopic lung diseases and the possible transition from skin to lung diseases. Practical courses in skin and lung function testings as well as presentations of patient cases by participants and discussion with the faculty bridged theory and practical application.

    The first day started with a short opening talk and a warm welcome by Dr. Roger Lauener (Children's Allergy & Asthma Hospital at the Hochgebirgsklinik, Davos) and the EAACI President, Prof. Cezmi Akdis (Swiss Institute of Allergy and Astha Research (SIAF), University of Zurich, Davos). An introductory opening lecture entitled „Immunological bases of atopic dermatitis and asthma“ was also given by Prof. Akdis. The day ended with a welcome dinner, where all participants continued the discusions and got better acquainted with each other.

    The second day of the school started with the sessions analysing atopic dermatitis supervised by the chairpersons Dr. Johanes Ring (DE) and Dr. Peter Schmid-Grendelmeier (CH). In the first keynote talk, Dr. Mubeccel Akdis (CH) gave an exelent presentation about the „Introduction of immune tolerance in the treatment of atopic dermatitis and asthma“. A review of current strategies for drug development and allergen-specific immunotherapy and the potential for preventive therapies and cure of allergic diseases was presented. Stephan Weidinger (DE) presented a second lecture entitled „Atopic Dermatitis: the impact of the genes“. The lecturer gave an overview of current knowledge and future directions in atopic dermatitis genetics.

    After the coffee break, the lectures and discussions were continued. Dr. Ring introduced the participants to the role of an environment in atopic dermatitis (also covering aspects of infections and microbial colonisation). This lecture led to a lot of discussions and practical questions. As atopic dermatitis is a very common inflammatory skin disease in childhood, and has a large impact on the quality of life; about one third of children with moderate to severe AD are affected by food hypersensitivity. The lecture was very relevant and informative. Dr. Ring‘s presentation was followed by Dr. Antonella Muraro (IT), who introduced the role of food allergy in atopic dermatitis.

    The afternoon session was dedicated to a practical course on skin testing. The lecture was given by Dr. Schmid-Grendelmeier and each participant had the possibility to practice performing skin prick and prick-prick tests.

    It would be unfair not to mention the memorable presentation given by Ernst Rietschel (DE) with the help of his son and his little granddaughter during dinner. His talk „Immortal Music and Deadly Septicaemia – Deaths of famous composers by bacterial blood poisoning“, enriched with the sounds of music from the most famous musical compositions, did not leave anybody indifferent. After dinner, in addition with dessert, beer and wine, there was a poster session, which enabled the participants to actively discuss their data with the keynote lecturers, EAACI Board Members and other participants.

    The third day of the school was dedicated to asthma. The participants were brought to the Children‘s Allergy & Asthma Hospital, Davos. With the supervision of the chairpersons Prof. Akdis and Dr. Ioana Agache (RO), the bases of lung function testing were presented by Dr. Oliver Fuchs (CH) and Dr. Georg Schappi (CH). The participants became familiar with the basics of lung physiology essential for understanding and using the currently available lung function measurement techniques.

    The last day of the school, under the supervision of the chairperson Dr. Akdis (CH), started with the presentation „Asthma: the impact of the genes“ by Prof. Andrea Heinzmann (DE), followed by Prof. Angela Simpson (UK), who analysed the environmental impact on the development of asthma. Dr. Fuchs (CH) talked about the „Treatment of asthma: current gold standard, future options“, in which the basic concepts of successful asthma management according to current guidelines and new asthma treatment approaches, most of which are still in an experimental or research state, were presented. The last presentations were dedicated to urticaria and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (Dr. Agache, RO). The answer to the question „Do urticaria patients wheeze and if not, why not“ was not very easy, but Dr. Clive Grattan (UK) gave an excellent presentation, which made it more clear.

    In addition to the high quality scientific programme, the afternoon hours were given over to winter sports, and many participants took advantage of the excellent conditions on famous Davos slopes and enjoyed the perfect weather.

    On behalf of all participants we would like to thank EAACI, GA²LEN and the Local Organising Committee for the excellent organisation, which turned this school into a great success.

    Indre Butiene

    Official Representative of EAACI Aerobiology and Pollution IG,
    Junior Members and Affiliates Working Group.
    Department of Pathology, Pharmacology and Forensic medicine,
    Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania.
    Last updated: 14 October 2014
  • Report from Allergy School in Edinburgh 2011

    EAACI Allergy School in Edinburgh
    Clinical Impact and Mechanisms of Infections in Allergy
    15-18 September 2011
    Edinburgh, UK

    The Allergy School on the Clinical Impact and Mechanisms of Infections in Allergy took place in Edinburgh (UK) on 15–18 September 2011. The EAACI Infections and Allergy Interest Group and the University of Edinburgh undertook the organisation of this conference and carried it out very successfully.

    The first day started with a short opening talk and a warm welcome from EAACI President Prof. Cezmi Akdis and the chair of the EAACI Infection and Allergy Interest Group, Prof. Jurgen Schwarze. A really interesting and interactive session took place, attempting to investigate the mechanisms that may offer protection from allergic disease by pathogens and commensals. The second day featured a fully educational programme on the role of viruses and bacteria in allergy and asthma development. Between the sessions, oral presentations from young researchers in the field gave the audience the opportunity to share new information and to interact more closely with the speakers. The third day was devoted to vaccination and how this may act as a trigger or as protection against allergy development and further investigation of several mechanisms by which viruses and bacteria lead to allergic phenotype.

    The conference ended with interesting talks on the role of parasites in allergy and some helpful advice on starting our own research on Allergy, a session that might affect not only junior researchers in the field but also mentors attending the session.

    In addition to the high quality of the Scientific Programme, the conference gave everybody the opportunity to experience many aspects of Scottish culture. From the visit to Edinburgh Castle, the walking tour to the magnificent Arthur’s Seat, ending up with dining, dancing, or exploring traditional pub life in Edinburgh, this programme was just as it should be. Distinguished researchers meeting juniors trying to explore scientific mechanisms and having a really nice time – that could be the report of this school in just a few words.

    Congratulations to the organisers, the lecturers, and the participants. We all had a great time.

    Heidi Makrinioti
    Last updated: 27 October 2014