Allergies are increasing in incidence at an alarming rate. One in three Europeans suffers from an allergy and one in ten children suffers from asthma. From the E.U. perspective, the cost from allergies in terms of health care and absenteeism from work is estimated at 45 billion euros a year. Despite prioritization of allergies and asthma in recent E.U. Framework Programme activities, there are major gaps of knowledge in this area that hamper the design of new therapeutic strategies. Recently, a new family of cytokines termed lambda IFNs, Type III IFNs or IL-28/29 (IFNλ/IL-28s) was described. IFNλ/IL-28s signal though a unique receptor complex (IL-28Rα/IL 10R2) and possess antiviral and antitumour activity. However, their role in adaptive immunity and allergic diseases has not been explored. This is despite two reports linking the levels of expression of IFNλ/IL-28s with reduced severity of asthma in humans. The host laboratory has therefore initiated a study to investigate the role of IFNλ/IL-28s in allergic asthma and found that IFNλ/IL-28s possess potent immunomodulatory activity that suppresses allergic airway disease in mice. The primary objective of this proposal is to further explore this observation through (i) the in-depth investigation of the role of IFNλ/IL-28s in allergic airway disease, (ii) the unwinding of the cellular and molecular events involved, (iii) and the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of allergic asthma. The secondary objective is to support reintegration and career development of the Marie Curie fellow by expanding her training to chronic inflammatory disease pathogenesis and to new technologies and interdisciplinary skills. The high quality research environment of the Host Organization, the international collaborations of the host laboratory which is a partner and coordinator of other FP7 Actions and the innovative and translational nature of the project guarantee the success of both aims of the proposal.
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