On 14 January 2016, the ALLERGY THINK TANK meeting took place at the Platzl Hotel in the heart of Munich, Germany. The EAACI Board of Officers Meeting was scheduled one day before, but in addition to this business meeting, the ALLERGY THINK TANK was arranged to create space for discussion about science and how to push anti-allergy strategies on a national as well as international level. The city of Munich and Carsten Schmidt-Weber (Exam Committee Chairperson, president of the EAACI annual congress 2018) invited the BoO, international high-ranked experts in the allergy field and scientists of the allergy competence region of Munich. The city of Munich and the state of Bavaria are very interested in implementation of strategies to prevent further growth of the allergy epidemic. Our president Antonella Muraro and Lars K. Poulson focused on the rising problem of food allergies and the reasons why it is time to start thinking about primary intervention. Invited experts Stephen Durham and Erika von Mutius presented prospects for prevention and primary intervention. Bottom line of this discussion was that although recent success in primary intervention was promising, reservations on the general applicability were raised. The timing of preventive treatments including sublingual approaches were suggested to be realized in the first years of life. The discussion also highlighted the need for mechanistic understanding on genetical, environmental, and immunological level. Therefore, highly interdisciplinary teams are required only available in the EAACI community. Secondary prevention was discussed in the second part of the meeting by Peter Hellings, the aim of this research area is to prevent chronicity and its attributed problems.
Important was the meeting of the BoO members as well as Luxembourg and Munich representatives on invitation of the Bavarian States minister and head of the Bavarian State Chancellery, the direct representative of the Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer. Our president Antonella Muraro could convince them to support the Academy’s goals at the European Parliament and also welcomed the proactive attitude of the Bavarian state to further support and invest into allergy research.
The afternoon session started with an overview about the affordability of a system change to prevent disease progression by Ioana Agache, who also moderated the discussions. Tilo Biedermann and Adam Chaker from the Medical School of the Technical University Munich focused on the history of anti-IL-4 strategies and the question if SIT is ready for a systematical treatment of rhinitis patients at risk to develop asthma. Markus Ollert presented the current biotech pipeline on allergy prevention strategies and Jeroen Buters completed this scientific session with the vision of allergy prevention by handheld devices like applications on pollen forecast for smartphones.
The sometimes provocative discussions after the presentations raised fruitful ideas about the directions we have to take to not only increase quality of life for patients by improving symptoms, but to identify persons of risk and prevent the development of allergies as early as possible in life. This meeting highlighted ongoing research aiming to reach the goals of EAACI, gave the possibility for the BoO to interact and emphasize on EAACI’s strategies with Representatives of the Bavarian Prime Minister and due to intense discussions it created a feeling of “yes, we can”.
Anke Graessel, JM Webmaster
Last updated 10 June 2016