Understanding and diminishing the allergy epidemic

Biomax provides the text-mining and knowledge management infrastructure for the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme Mechanisms of the Development of Allergy (MeDALL) project. The MeDALL project aims to do the following:

  • Generate novel knowledge of the underlying causes and mechanisms of allergies
  • Address the development of allergic responses, genetic predispositions, biomarkers and identification of targets for therapy
  • Elucidate the reasons behind the growing number of allergy cases
  • Determine whether and how environmental factors influence the development of allergies

The results of the project will help to improve the quality of life of people with allergies through early diagnosis, improving prevention strategies and developing new cost-effective treatments for allergic disorders.

Systems medicine is the holistic approach to a patient’s care. It incorporates evidence-based medicine with the interactions between all components of health, disease, human genetics, environment and behavior.

In the project, MeDALL researchers seek to identify and validate biomarker profiles (“fingerprints”) for allergy disease. Relevant fingerprints will be combined into network biomarker phenotype “handprints” using a Systems Biology approach and validated in a sufficiently powered sample. Animal studies and in vitro human immunology will reinforce the validation. This information coupled with classical and novel phenotypes will be used to characterize environmental factors for allergy and risk groups. Results will be fitted into new integrative mathematical models to establish suitable biomarkers for early diagnosis, prevention and targets for therapy of allergy-associated diseases such as asthma and atopic dermatitis.

Biomax provides the text-mining and knowledge management infrastructure to support the MeDALL consortium. It uses the BioXM™ Knowledge Management Environment to structure and semantically integrate the diverse information provided by the consortium, which includes experimental data such as DNA expression and methylation, patient data including symptoms and environmental factors from several large birth cohort studies, and text-mining extracted literature data about allergies. The BioXM system will be used to create a knowledge network based on information gathered by cross-sectional and birth cohort studies, including data on more than 42,000 children born between 1992 and 2007 across Europe. In a second phase of the project, 18,000 of them will be re-examined using a common protocol.

In addition, Biomax will establish standard operating procedures (SOPs), data formats and quality metrics for the MeDALL project. The BioXM knowledge management infrastructure will support these activities by connecting partners, ensuring adherence to SOPs, joining data generation with analysis and supporting the collaborative workflow within MeDALL. It enables secure, access-controlled querying, visualization and retrieval of integrated data by multiple sites, and provides connection to analysis tools.

  • Integrating Clinical and Epidemiologic Data on Allergic Diseases Across Birth Cohorts: A Harmonization Study in the Mechanisms of the Development of Allergy Project
    Benet M, Albang R, Pinart M, Hohmann C, Tischer CG, et al. (2019) Am J Epidemiology 188:408–17
  • The sex-shift in single disease and multimorbid asthma and rhinitis during puberty – a study by MeDALL
    Keller T, Hohmann C, Standl M, Wijga AH, Gehring U, Melén E, et al. (2017) Allergy DOI:10.1111/all.13312
    Abstract | Full text
  • Paving the way of systems biology and precision medicine in allergic diseases: The MeDALL success story
    Bousquet J, Anto J M, Akdis M, Auffray C, Keil T, Momas I, et al. (2016) Allergy DOI: 10.1111/all.12880
    Abstract | Full text
  • Exposure to air pollution and development of asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis throughout childhood and adolescence: a population-based birth cohort study
    Gehring U, Wijga AH, Hoek G, Bellander T, Berdel D, Brüske I, et al. (2015) Lancet Respir Med doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(15)00426-9
  • Are allergic multimorbidities and IgE polysensitization associated with the persistence or re-occurrence of foetal type 2 signalling? The MeDALL hypothesis
    Bousquet J, Anto JM, Wickman M, Keil T, Valenta R, Haahtela T, et al. (2015) Allergy 70:1062–78
    Abstract | Full text
  • Developmental determinants in non-communicable chronic diseases and ageing
    J Bousquet, J M Anto, K Berkouk, P Gergen, J Pinto Antunes, P Augé, et al. (2015)Thorax 70:595–597
  • Pooling Birth Cohorts in Allergy and Asthma: European Union-Funded Initiatives – A MeDALL, CHICOS, ENRIECO, and GA2LEN Joint Paper
    Bousquet J, Anto J, Sunyer J, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Vrijheid M, Keil T, et al. (2013) Int Arch Allergy Immunol 161:1–10
    Abstract | Full text
  • Systematic Review Protocol to Define Classical IgE-Associated Diseases from Birth to Adolescence: The MeDALL Study
    Pinart M, Maier D, Gimeno-santos E, Sola I, Garcia-aymerich J, Guerra S, et al. (2012)WebmedCentral ALLERGY 2012;3(5):WMC003408
    Abstract | Full text
  • MeDALL (Mechanisms of the Development of ALLergy): an integrated approach from phenotypes to systems medicine
    Bousquet J, Anto J, Auffray C, Akdis M, Cambon-Thomsen A, Maier D, et al. (2011) Allergy 66:596-604
    Abstract | Full text