New approaches to the treatment of atopic dermatitis

The epithelium is the outermost layer of cells in an organ and provides a strong barrier function in order to prevent or treat allergic diseases. In the case of an allergy, this cell layer of the skin, nose or lungs becomes permeable. From studies with patients suffering from eczema, asthma or rhinitis, researchers from Area D have learnt that the barrier function of the particular epithelium does not operate properly.

The focus has been placed on tight junctions (TJs). Tight junctions (TJs) are narrow bands of proteins that hold together the outermost cells of a tissue and thereby form a barrier. This prevents penetration by substances from the environment, e.g. allergens, pollutants and bacterial toxins. Defects in the TJs disrupt this barrier function in the airways and lungs therefore play an important role in the development and existence of asthma.
It was suspected that one of the most effective approaches to allergy prevention is to maintain the functionality of these TJs and thereby ensure the tissue does not become permeable.

Early detection of permeability of the epithelium can consequently be used as early diagnosis in allergy-prone children and can help in taking the first necessary precautions. In an initial step, new methods of performing this analysis are being addressed. Thus treatment to protect the barrier function may become the method of choice for some patients with atopic dermatitis or other allergic diseases.

Researchers from Area D have studied the regulation of these TJs by a cell group that is typical of allergies (denTh2 cells) and their released messengers in both healthy and asthmatic individuals. The data showed that these Th2 cells and their messengers reduce the integrity of the TJs and hence the outermost barrier of cells. However, if one specific enzyme (HDAC) has been blocked, the defective barrier function could be restored as the cells increase the formation of TJ molecules.
Four new molecules have been identified which are responsible for the development of eczema in allergy patients. Furthermore, new and promising approaches to the diagnostic criteria and the treatment of the serious form of atopic dermatitis have been defined.

Certification by the Swiss Biobanking Platform – OPTIMA-Label

Davos BioSciences AG achieved the official OPTIMA label of the Swiss Biobanking Platform for its biobank infrastructure as of 30.05.2022. This is another important step for Davos BioSciences AG and CK-CARE. The label attests to the full implementation of a QM system. The OPTIMA-Label confirms: “Compliance with the Good Biobanking Practices; in particular OECD Best practice guidelines for biological resource centres (2007), ISBER Best practices (2018) and IARC Common minimum technical standards (2017). It follows established standards, including the ISO 20387:2018 – general requirements for biobanking. This certification approach is part of our long-term strategy to provide high-quality samples to the research community”.

Certification by the Swiss Biobanking Platform

After some effort, Davos BioSciences AG achieved the official NORMA label of the Swiss Biobanking Platform for its biobank infrastructure as of 17.08.2021. This is an important step for Davos BioSciences AG and CK-CARE. The NORMA-Label confirms: “Compliance with professional standards is essential to perform our daily biobanking activities according to Good Biobanking Practices; in particular OECD Best practice guidelines for biological resource centres (2007), ISBER Best practices (2018) and IARC Common minimum technical standards (2017). It follows established standards, including the ISO 20387:2018 – general requirements for biobanking. This certification approach is part of our long-term strategy to provide high-quality samples to the research community”. Certificate of the Swiss Biobanking Plattform

Claudio Rhyner, PhD appointed as the new Managing Director

On 1 October 2020, Claudio Rhyner succeeded Dr. Georg Schäppi as Managing Director of CK-CARE. Georg Schäppi was appointed CEO at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich as of 1 December, 2020.

Claudio Rhyner was born and grew up in Davos. After studying chemistry and molecular biology, he graduated specialising in asthma and allergy research. He was active in fundamental scientific research, including as head of the research “Vaccine Development” group at the SIAF (Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research). In this capacity he published numerous publications and filed several patents. After holding a leading position in a SME in molecular diagnostics, he became CEO of Biosciences Davos. Biosciences Davos is a spin-off organisation of CK-CARE in the field of biobanking and is part of the Medizincampus Davos. He continues to hold this position.

In his private life, Claudio Rhyner is actively engaged in politics and culture in the Davos community. He also completed a postgraduate degree in the field of management of small and medium-sized companies at the University St. Gallen.

Atopic dermatitis: an expanding therapeutic pipeline for a complex disease

Our founder, Prof. Thomas Bieber, published an important contribution in the treatment of AD:

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease with a complex pathophysiology that underlies a wide spectrum of clinical phenotypes. AD remains challenging to treat owing to the limited response to available therapies. However, recent advances in understanding of disease mechanisms have led to the discovery of novel potential therapeutic targets and drug candidates

In addition to regulatory approval for the IL-4Ra inhibitor dupilumab, the anti-IL-13 inhibitor tralokinumab and the JAK1/2 inhibitor baricitinib in Europe, there are now more than 70 new compounds in development. This Review assesses the various strategies and novel agents currently being investigated for AD and highlights the potential for a precision medicine approach to enable prevention and more effective long-term control of this complex disease.

read more…

Kühne-Foundation Annual Report 2020

“Key priority of the Kühne Foundation is the support for training, further education as well as research and science in the area of logistics. This also includes Humanitarian Logistics and a project concentrating on free global trade.
Another focal point is our medicine funding through research, therapy, and education in the fields of allergology and cardiology. In Davos, Switzerland, we operate the Hochgebirgsklinik, a renowed rehabilitation hospital owned by us, and various research institutions. In the cultural sector, we support leading opera houses and concert halls and belong to the main sponsors of the Salzburg Festival and Lucerne Festival.”

Prof. Dr. h.c. Klaus-Michael Kühne