Allergy - From Basics to Clinic

Launched March 2020 Updated February 2024 12 lectures More in production
Prof. Francesca Levi-Schaffer
Institute for Drug Research, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Dr. Revital Shamri
Institute for Drug Research, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Allergic diseases that comprise allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis and food and drug allergy are widespread conditions affecting more than 15% of the world global population, with increasing incidence. Allergic diseases are rarely fatal, but they lessen quality of life, and are a huge burden on the... read moreeconomy due to interference in day-to day activities, including missing work/school days. Although a variety of drugs are in use for treating allergic diseases, most of the drugs target the symptoms with some of them affecting ongoing inflammation, but none alter the course of the disease. Moreover, severe asthma and atopic dermatitis still remain unmet clinical conditions.

This series aims to provide a comprehensive review of the allergic responses, of the cells, the mediators and the mechanisms involved. The series also provides a description of the most common allergic diseases: their classification, manifestation, current therapy, and an update on cutting-edge research findings and new ideas for future therapy.

The course consists of three sections. The first section of the course is an overview of the immune system with emphasis on the allergic inflammation process: the allergens, the IgE antibodies and their high affinity FcεRI receptor, the main effector cells involved, i.e. mast cells, eosinophils and basophils, and other types of innate immune cells.

The second section focuses on the main types of allergic diseases: allergic rhinitis and asthma; atopic dermatitis, urticaria and contact hypersensitivity; allergic conjunctivitis; drug and insect allergy; anaphylaxis; food allergy and other allergic diseases of the digestive system. A lecture will be devoted to the emerging importance of the connection between the microbiome and the allergic diseases. For each disease its pathophysiology, the major cells and mediators involved, the ongoing basic research, the available animal models and a general overview of the current therapy will be provided.

In the final section the first lectures will focus on the current major drugs in use for treating allergic diseases, such as anti-histamines, glucocorticosteroids, beta2 adrenergic agonists, anti-cholinergic drugs, chromones, anti-IgE antibodies, theophylline and phosphodiestrase inhibitors, and anti-leukotrienes. Specifically, the drugs’ therapeutic uses, their mechanisms of action at the organ, cellular and subcellular levels, their adverse off-targets and on-target effects, their administration mode, etc. will be illustrated. A lecture will be devoted to allergen specific immunotherapy. The final lecture will present drugs currently in pre-clinical/clinical trials together with future directions for new drugs against allergy.