Joint study will identify biomarkers associated with allergy vaccine treatment

April 8, 2012: Vancouver, BC, Canada: The Centre of Excellence for the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF Centre) is working with Adiga Life Sciences to develop better ways of monitoring the effectiveness of novel allergy vaccines through a discovery project aimed at identifying blood-based proteomic and genomic biomarkers. These biomarkers will enhance current understanding of how allergy vaccines work, and will guide the development of molecular tests for the diagnosis and management of allergic rhinitis.

“As many as 10 million Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies, and I believe that the work we are undertaking with the PROOF Centre will advance our understanding of immunotherapy and ultimately bring significant benefits to this population,” says Dr. Pascal Hickey, Managing Director of Adiga Life Sciences. “The identification of the biomarkers will allow us to better understand the science underlying the effectiveness of peptide allergy vaccines.”

Adiga Life Sciences, a joint venture between McMaster University and UK-based biopharmaceutical company Circassia, is focused on developing and commercializing Canadian allergy-related research in medical science and technology. Adiga is currently conducting a clinical trial in collaboration with investigators from the AllerGen NCE Inc. network, headquartered at McMaster University, to collect blood samples from patients with allergic rhinitis who are receiving treatment with an investigational peptide allergy vaccine. Under the collaboration between Adiga and the PROOF Centre, these samples will be applied to the biomarker discovery and validation program that has been established and refined by the PROOF Centre. The biomarker discovery pipeline aims to identify proteins and genes that are responsive to vaccine treatment. The PROOF Centre is a not-for-profit organization that develops and implements biomarker tests to better manage patients with organ failure and to prevent disease progression.

“We are excited that the biomarker pipeline we have been refining over the last seven years will play a critical part in the discovery of biomarkers related to peptide allergy vaccines,” says Dr. Bruce McManus, Director of the PROOF Centre. “More importantly, once these biomarkers have been discovered, we will be able to develop diagnostic tests that will support the development of products for quicker relief from allergy symptoms as well as for more effective clinical management of those suffering from allergic rhinitis.”

Typical symptoms of allergic rhinitis include a scratchy throat, sneezing, itching and watery eyes, which can lead to significant debilitation. Seasonal allergies can start in the early spring and last through to the end of autumn, although allergies such as those to house dust mites or cats persist year round. Persistent allergic rhinitis can impair one’s quality of life and productivity at work or school.