Exjobbsförslag från företag

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Förslaget inkom 2007-02-02

Development of new treatment strategies for allergic disease

Background: During the last decades a dramatic increase in prevalence of allergic diseases has been observed in our society. The most frequent type is IgE-mediated allergy, which is caused by IgE antibodies against otherwise harmless environmental antigens, i.e. allergens. Typical allergens are plant and tree pollen, furred pets dander and dust mites. In sensitised individuals the allergens cause symptoms in the upper and lower airways, like hay fever and asthma. Today, specific immunotherapy is the only curative treatment for allergic disease in use. This therapy is however time-consuming, resource-demanding and not without risks for adverse side effects. To overcome the limitations of current SIT, this project aims to develop new strategies to improve the therapy. For this purpose, it is essential to understand the mechanisms for how an allergen induces an allergic immune response and how this response may be modified and skewed towards a “non-allergic” response. By changing the molecular nature and delivery conditions of an allergen, we hypothesize that we can influence on how an allergen is recognised by the immune system. This will in turn influence the immune response evoked by the allergen and if the result will be an allergic response or not. Our general goal is to develop new strategies for treatment of allergic disease.
Projects: Our research group consists of one professor, one associate professor, one senior scientist, four PhD students and one technician and our lab is situated at the department of Medicine, Clin. Immunology and Allergy unit, Karolinska Institutet, at Karolinska University hospital in Solna. Several other research groups studying similar research problems also work at the same department. Our group has recently developed a mouse model for cat allergy. This is an important tool for testing new strategies to improve allergen-specific immunotherapy. One new concept that we are currently evaluating is a novel allergen carrier and adjuvant for allergen-specific immunotherapy, carbohydrate-based particles (CBP). A major cat allergen has been coupled to CBPs and this preparation has proved efficient for treating mice sensitized with cat allergen. The mechanism of this effect will be studied in the mouse model and constitutes one possible 20 credit thesis project. The cat allergy model will also be used to test other approaches to manipulate the allergic immune response. The establishment of treatment protocols and evaluation of treatment with other new allergen preparations is another example of a proposed 20 credit thesis project.
Methods: The 20 credit project will thus address a defined problem within our research group’s current projects. Many different methods will be employed, depending on the project. Cell fractioning and culture, isolation of cells, in vitro culturing and stimulation of mouse cells, cell proliferation assays, cytokine production (e.g. ELISA, intracellular cytokine analysis, CBA, ELSISpot and QT-PCR), cell analyses by flow cytometry, analysis of the antibody response by ELISA, recombinant protein production and analyses are some examples of methods that are currently used in our lab.
Education: Eligible applicants for 20 credits “ex-jobb” at our department should have at least a 5 credits (5 weeks university course) exam in immunology or closely related subjects. Suitable educations for the type of research we perform are immunology, cell biology, molecular biology, biotechnology or biomedicine programs at universities, technical high schools or medical universities.


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