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Allergy and Clinical Immunology: research

In the last 5 years, the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Department of the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital has participated in numerous studies and research projects.

Global research projects

  • Clinical trials: more than 10 conducted. 
  • Publications: more than 30 publications in journals with impact factor.

All members of the team participate actively in different scientific societies, such as Sociedad Española de Inmunología Clínica, Alergología y Asma Pediátrica (Spanish Society of Paediatric Clinical Immunology, Allergology and Asthma - SEICAP), the EAACI (European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology), of which Dr Montserrat Alvaro is the secretary of the Paediatric Board, and the ESID (European Society for Immunodeficiencies), of which Dr Laia Alsina participates in PID Care in Development (primary immunodeficiencies).

Research of the Clinical Immunology and Primary Immunodeficiencies Unit

The research group, led by Laia Alsina, within the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (SJD Research Institute), focuses on primary/congenital immunodeficiencies and secondary immunodeficiencies, with the following main lines:

  • Primary immunodeficiencies of the Toll-IL-1 R pathway (susceptibility to pneumococcus and herpes encephalitis), and of the IL-12/IFN-γ pathway, which generate susceptibility to intracellular infections (mycobacteria, leishmaniasis, among others).
  • Primary immunodeficiencies with a predominant component of immune dysregulation (inflammation, lymphoproliferation, autoimmunity), such as common variable immune deficiency, with particular interest in the study of cells with a regulatory role (regulatory T and B cells) and the use of sirolimus in their treatment.
  • Immunodeficiencies secondary to the use of monoclonal antibodies, especially anti-TNF-a during pregnancy and B-cell depletion therapies.

The objective is to ascertain the bases of the immune dysfunction in the 3 different pathology groups, to identify biomarkers as well as new therapeutic targets. 

The research group led by Laia Alsina belongs to the group pre-consolidated by the AGAUR (Agència de Gestió d'Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca, Agency for Management of University and Research Grants) (GPRE 2017/SGR1547), called GEMDIP (Grup d’Estudi en Malalties per Disregulació Immune a Pediatria - Study Group on Immune Dysregulation Disorders in Paediatrics).

The different lines of research have been financed through competitive FIS (Health Research Fund) grants (2012, 2015, 2018); Eranet (2016); SEICAP Scholarship Award (2017); Leonardo Scholarships for Researchers and Cultural Creators from the BBVA Foundation (2018) and PERIS (Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation in Health) (2018).

Specific areas and recent publications by the group:

Primary immunodeficiencies 

Innate immunity: Toll-IL-1R pathway (MyD88/IRAK4 and TLR3 deficiencies, with susceptibility to pneumococcus and encephalitis due to herpes virus, respectively) and IL-12/IFN-gamma pathway (susceptibility to mycobacteria and other intracellular bacteria).

  • Nat Immunol. 2014; 15(12):1134-42.
  • Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2018; 55(3):184-204. 
  • J Clin Immunol. 2018 Jul 23
  • Lancet Neurol. 2018; 17(9):760-772.

Immune dysregulation: common variable immune deficiency, regulatory B-cells and use of sirolimus/rapamycin in primary immunodeficiencies. 

  • Front Immunol. 2017; 8:201. 
  • Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jul 19;19(7). 
  • Front Immunol. 2018; 9:636.
  • J Allergy Clin Immunol 2018 May 4
  • Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2018; 29(4):425-432.

Secondary immunodeficiencies

Treatment with monoclonal anti-TNFa during pregnancy.

  • Front Immunol. 2017; 8:1123.