The Medicine Campus Davos provides an endowed professorship sponsored by the Kühne Foundation. This allows for the ideal conditions for a translational centre for allergology, thanks to the proximity and synergy created by the clinic (Hochgebirgsklinik) and CK-CARE research and education, as well as the close cooperation with the University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich. Relevant topics from everyday clinical routine are addressed and processed in the laboratory.
About 35% of the Swiss population is sensitised to allergens. Often, patients first experience symptoms as small children. For example, 20% of children suffer from neurodermatitis. It is to be expected that allergies will increase even more drastically in the future. Treatment is usually carried out using long-term desensitisation, often with uncertain success, or with medications, most of which have relatively strong side effects. Frequently, the only advice that can be given to the patient is to simply avoid the allergen. There is therefore a great unmet medical need for a sustainable and effective preventative therapy or treatment.
One of the main areas of interest is neurodermatitis. We are investigating why neurodermatitis is associated with an inflammatory reaction not just restricted to the skin, but with systemic manifestations, such that certain patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. We are also looking at how these disease elements are linked. Our most important approach in the research of these relationships is Imaging Mass Cytometry. We are currently developing this imaging method at the Medicine Campus Davos. With this technology, 40 to 50 surface markers can be analysed on cells in the tissue, instead of just 4 to 5 with the conventional method. This comprehensive visualisation of immune cells and their mediators in the tissue will enable a better understanding of inflammatory processes. This in turn will pave the way for more targeted treatment approaches.