Successful interdisciplinary cooperation between microbiology and allergology – from field research to cutting edge molecular biology

Pollen has a specific microbiome for every plant species!
The number and severity of diseases based on pollen allergies is constantly increasing. Scientists now assume that plants’ own defence mechanisms against environmental factors, such as exhaust fumes or adverse microbial overload, bear a significant share of the allergenicity of pollen and pollen-associated compounds. It is important to understand that microbes in themselves do not have a negative impact on plants (and people). Instead, the “right mix” (diversity) of microbes appears to be crucial to the health of human, animal and environment. The publication quoted below first describes the different types and number of microbes to be found on birch and grass pollen. The differences in the pollen microbiome between different species of plant are described as well as the differences between the pollen microbiome of the same plant species, but under the influence of different environmental factors such as location and pollution burden. In a second step, possible correlations between air pollution, pollen microbiome and the allergenicity of pollen were established.

If we damage the environment less, the allergenicity of plant pollen will also decrease
In this connection the research team established that precisely air pollution (traffic load) and a “harmful microbial load” have a negative influence on the allergenicity of pollen – hence more allergen is released. The aim now is to understand what induces pollen to release more allergen and what microbes act as trigger factors in this process. It seems clear that allergen production and allergen release are a defensive reaction – a type of stress situation that is intended to ensure the plant’s survival. A more positive influence on the plant world is needed in future through sustainable management of the environment, so that plants produce less (disease-causing) pollen allergen and hence patients have fewer symptoms and fewer allergies arise.

In February 2016, for the field of medicine, the relevant publication “Pollen-Associated Microbiome Correlates with Pollution Parameters and the Allergenicity of Pollen“ (first author: Andrea Obersteiner) was successfully published in the internationally highly-ranked specialist journal PLOS One. The publication is the result of excellent interdisciplinary cooperation between the Institute for Environmental Medicine at UNIKA-T and the Department of Microbe-Plant Interaction at the Helmholtz Centre in Munich. The scientific colleagues at the Institute for Environmental Medicine, Stefanie Gilles, Isabelle Beck and Franziska Häring, and the Institute Director Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann are pleased that, through their research efforts, they have made a unique contribution to the understanding of the connection between microbiome, air pollution and the allergenicity of pollen.

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