Pollen monitoring online

On 13 September 2016, the Bavarian Cabinet approved the setting up of the world’s first automatic pollen monitoring network (ePIN) as part of the “Bayern Digital” initiative (Press Release 253, Bavarian State Chancellery). The initiative, jointly supported by the two ministries of “Environment and Consumer Protection” (StMUV) and “Health and Care Services” (StMGP), is based on preliminary studies by the Centre for Allergy and Environment (ZAUM) of the Technical University of Munich, a partner of CK-CARE.

The network involves several innovations:

In a pilot study, a maximum network of 27 pollen monitors was set up in Bavaria and operated for a year. These established which locations are sufficient and necessary for determining the pollen count in Bavaria. As Bavaria, can be subdivided into eight pollen count regions, eight stations are sufficient for reliable measuring. This meant that the cost and complexity of pollen monitoring could be reduced.
In a three-year experiment, the suitability of an automated pollen monitor was compared with that of the classic manual method (microscopy). The error rate was equally high but of a different character for the two methods. The greatest error for the automated method was that not all pollens were recognized (if they varied from the classic external appearance) and were consequently classified as “unknown”. As a result of repeated use of the system, the recognition software will automatically improve over time. By contrast, the manual systems have already been optimised and cannot be further improved.

The new system will be set up from 2017 to 2018 and should be running continuously from 2019. Similar efforts are being made in Switzerland, but this favour using the monitor from a Swiss company.

The system has enormous advantages for patients: the pathogens causing the common disease of pollen allergy or “hay fever” (over 80% of allergy sufferers are allergic to pollen) are visualised on line with this system and give patients the opportunity to react specifically to the triggers of their condition, especially since the system allows far more accurate pollen forecasts to be made than in the past.

Annual Report CK-CARE 2023

CK-CARE’s work has global resonance and, thanks to this strong position, significant projects in clinical allergy research were again launched or catalysed in the reporting year. CK-CARE’s working methods were sharpened in terms of medical translation and a strengthening of research capacities on the medical campus in Davos was defined in order to increase CK-CARE’s performance.

Annual Report 2023

CK-CARE’s work now has global resonance and, thanks to this strong position, significant projects in clinical allergy research were again launched or catalysed in the reporting year. CK-CARE’s working methods were sharpened in terms of medical translation and a strengthening of research capacities on the medical campus in Davos was defined in order to increase CK-CARE’s performance.

Kühne-Foundation Annual Report 2023

“Entrepreneurial success should go hand in hand with the promotion of  the common good. The Kühne Foundation fulfills this task. With a variety of programs and projects, the founder and the Kühne Foundation also assume their socio-political responsibility.”

The activities were significantly expanded, particularly in the area of logistics. In addition, the new focus area of climate action was established, and the first projects were launched.

Prof. Dr. h.c. Klaus-Michael Kühne

 

How flexible are neutrophils to opposing signaling?

Paola Martinez Murillo a postdoctoral researcher in Pierre-Yves Mantel’s group from CK-CARE obtained a Spark grant from the SNSF to investigate the effect of opposite signals on neutrophil biology in atopic dermatitis.

Spark is a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) funding scheme aiming to support projects that show unconventional thinking and introduce a unique approach. The Spark is highly competitive and supports projects based on promising ideas of high originality. CK-CARE was recognized as an eligible institution in June 2023 by the SNSF, opening new funding opportunities for the CK-CARE researchers.

This project aims to understand how two opposing signals: eczema dysregulated immune environment (Th2 response) and bacterial colonization (Th1 response) impact neutrophils function.

Neutrophils are tiny but powerful immune cells in our blood that fight off bacteria and viruses. They live for only 2-3 days and can quickly respond to infections. Neutrophils can adapt to different situations thanks to their genetic instructions (RNA). Our body’s reversible changes in reading DNA, called epigenomic modifications, are crucial for a functional immune response.

Eczema, a chronic skin condition, happens when various factors like genetics, skin damage, and immune reactions go haywire. People with eczema have neutrophils that do not work as well in fighting bacteria, making them more prone to infections.

This study addresses a knowledge gap in neutrophil adaptation to an allergic milieu, by evaluating neutrophil adaptation to anti-bacterial response in a type 2 immune response dominated context such as atopic dermatitis using transcriptional and epigenomic profiling along with comprehensive analysis of neutrophil functionality (netosis, phagocytosis, ROS-production, bactericidal activity, chemotaxis). Building upon in-vitro stimulation insights, then we will aim for a comprehensive analysis of neutrophil functionality in atopic dermatitis patients treated or not with Dupilumab.

Environmental exposure and sensitization patterns in a Swiss alpine pediatric cohort

The level of environmental exposure throughout life may contribute to the prevalence of allergic sensitization and allergic disease. The alpine climate has been considered a healthy climate with little allergen exposure and pollution. We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate local environmental exposure and concomitant prevalence of allergic sensitization among local school children born and raised in an alpine environment.

Read the full publication

Spatial transcriptomics combined with single-cell RNA-sequencing unravels the complex inflammatory cell network in atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder affecting up to 3%–5% of adults and 20% of children worldwide. The pathophysiology of AD involves various factors including host genetics, altered skin barrier function, and immunological abnormalities.