A new hope to understand the allergy epidemic: the MeDALL project
The 23 consortium members establish the project’s scientific basis
Barcelona, January 26 – Allergy, the epidemic of the 21st century worldwide, is a major health problem and needs to be prevented and better controlled. MeDALL, a new EU-funded collaborative project to investigate the causes of allergy, is holding its kick-off meeting from January 24th to 26th 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.
MeDALL stands for “Mechanisms of the Development of ALLergy”; the project aims at improving the health of European citizens by understanding the causes of the allergy epidemic.
Allergy and environment
MeDALL, an output of the GA2LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma European Network) Network of Excellence, will generate groundbreaking knowledge on the causes and mechanisms of allergic diseases (including asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and food allergy, particularly in children). Do environmental factors influence the development of allergies? If so, how do these factors contribute to the global allergy epidemic?
MeDALL’s first step will be based on the information gathered by previous birth cohort studies, including more than 42,000 children born between 1992 and 2007 across Europe. In a second step, 18,000 of them will be re-examined using a common protocol. The complexity of allergic disease poses a major challenge for researchers; MeDALL’s innovative, integrative research strategy, combining approaches from systems biology to epidemiology, will help address this challenge.
Goal: Increase knowledge and understanding
At the first MeDALL Scientific Seminar, over 30 scientists will gather to establish the project’s scientific basis. Project Coordinator and Chairman of the Scientific Seminar Jean Bousquet (Inserm and Montpellier University, France) says: “I hope that MeDALL outcomes will hold a significant benefit for society and human interaction and environmental implications. The ultimate goal of MeDALL is to increase our knowledge and understanding of the causes of asthma and allergic disease. The results of the program will help to improve early diagnosis, target primary and secondary prevention strategies and develop novel cost-effective treatments for allergic disorders.” Scientific coordinator Josep M Anto (CREAL, Barcelona, Spain) confirmed, “MeDALL combines the best research teams across Europe, who will work together to combine the data obtained in ongoing birth cohorts with systems biology in order to find innovative approaches”.
The MeDALL consortium encompasses 23 public and private institutions, including 3 European SMEs whose specific complementary scientific expertise will contribute to MeDALL objectives. The project is coordinated by the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM), Paris, France and the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain. MeDALL has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) under grant agreement n° 261357.
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