Workpackage 4 – Observation of outcomes / intervention / prevention / biomarkers of atopic diseases

Lead: Prof. Dr. med. Roger Lauener, St Gallen/Zurich

This work package shall contribute to CK-CARE’s common research theme on the natural course of atopic disease throughout the first years of childhood. During the first one or two years of life atopy typically first manifests as atopic dermatitis. When children grow older, allergic airway diseases such as allergic rhino-conjunctivitis or asthma may develop. However, manifestation of allergic diseases during childhood is not a one-way process: in some children, allergic diseases disappear after some time. Indeed, recent research has classified asthma as well as atopic dermatitis into different phenotypes according to age of onset and natural course. What determines the natural course of the diseases is still unknown.
Therefore, we will collect data in a prospective way starting as early as possible in life, even during pregnancy. Our aim is first to investigate protective factors for allergy development and secondly to translate those findings into novel preventive and therapeutic approaches, mainly on nutrition-based intervention.
Our previous work showed that nutrition, especially in young babies, may prevent the development of neurodermatitis and asthma. Certain nutritional ingredients are particularly promising. We now want to introduce practical application of the current findings in clinical studies (translation). The following aims will be addressed: 

  • We will investigate whether the enrichment of food with certain nutritional ingredients prevents the development of neurodermatitis and asthma in healthy children, promotes the healing of the disease (remission) in persons already afflicted by neurodermatitis and prevents progression from atopic dermatitis to asthma.
  • To this effect, the diets of healthy babies, on the one hand, and of patients suffering from neurodermatitis, on the other, will be enriched with the nutritional ingredients mentioned and progression in the trial participants monitored over the duration of the study.
  • Over the course of the study, data on the clinical facility and the environment as well as blood and tissue samples will be collected to determine what participants are at special risk of developing allergies over time and who respond particularly well to treatment (biomarkers).