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Predicting food allergy through the early diagnosis of molecular cross reactivity in house dust mite sensitised children

The 2015 Early Career Researcher Grant

Team led by Dr Sandip Kamath, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, James Cook University, Townsville.

Dr Sandip Kamath

Sandip's work involves predicting shellfish allergy in children who are already allergic to the house dust mite. There are similarities between the bits of the house dust mite that cause allergies and those in shellfish, which means that there is cross reactivity. This is when the immune system reacts to house dust mite and may rebel against shellfish as well. This can evolve into severe allergic reactions. 

Sandip and his team aim to develop a way of detecting the immunological cross-reactivity using antibodies called IgE, with the hope that this may help to prevent accidental exposure and unexpected allergic reactions to seafood among house dust mite sensitised children and young people.

"It might surprise you to know that there are similarities between the bits of the house dust mite that cause allergies and those in shellfish, which means that you can get what we call cross reactivity. This is when the immune system reacts to house dust mite and may rebel against shellfish as well. This can evolve into severe allergic reactions," explains Dr Kamath.

"I aim to develop a way of detecting this immunological cross-reactivity using antibodies called IgE with the hope that this may help to prevent accidental exposure and unexpected allergic reactions to seafood among house dust mite sensitised children and young people."

"One in four people are affected by allergy, immunodeficiencies and other immune diseases in Australia and New Zealand. We're delighted that the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) has been able to support such important projects, with the potential to positively affect so many people," says Dr Raymond Mullins, Chair of the AIFA Board. "Research into allergy has been under-resourced in Australia and New Zealand and this is the beginning of us redressing the balance."

In 2015 Dr Kamath entered the world’s biggest international science communication competition, FameLab. It is always good to see doctors with great communication skills.

See Combatting shellfish allergies - Dr Sandip Kamath and Combatting shellfish allergies - Dr Sandip Kamath

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