October World Medical Journal Review
Mark C. Glaum, M.D., Ph.D., WAO Guest Editor, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of South Florida College of Medicine, reviewed premier October medical journal articles for practicing allergists. Read his top 3 picks below and for the other 7 reviews, click here.
1. ALENDRONATE IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN ALFACALCIDOL IN PREVENTING GLUCOCORTICOID-INDUCED BONE LOSS
Subjects (n=201) who were starting glucocorticoids at a daily dose equivalent to 7.5 mg of prednisone secondary to rheumatic disease were enrolled in double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for an 18-month period. Subjects were randomized to receive alendronate (10 mg) plus placebo or alfacalcidol (1 mg) plus placebo daily. Measurement of bone mineral density and incidence of morphometric vertebral deformities were primary and secondary outcomes, respectively. In subjects receiving alendronate, lumbar spine bone mineral density scores increased by 2.1% while lumbar spine bone mineral density scores decreased by 1.9% in the alfacalcidiol group. Editor’s comment: Alendronate effectively inhibits bone loss due to sustained glucocorticoid use. De Nijs RNJ, Jacobs JWG, Lems WF, et al. N Engl J Med 2006; 355:675-84
2. MAST CELLS REGULATE T CELL TOLERANCE
Mast cells are known to propagate allergic inflammation in response to allergen challenge. Observations that successful skin grafts in mice become infiltrated with T regulatory cells (Treg) and mast cells led to the hypothesis that Treg - mast cell interactions may mediate graft tolerance. To evaluate this, investigators attempted to induce therapeutic tolerance in genetically engineered, mast cell-deficient mice by skin graft transplantation. All transplant attempts in mast cell deficient mice were quickly rejected. Reconstitution of mast cell populations in deficient mice restored the host’s ability to accept grafts for prolonged periods of time. Editor’s comment: Mast cells may possess immunomodulatory functions that go well beyond their established role in allergy. Please see excellent accompanying editorial. Lu L, Lind EF, Gondek DC, et al. Nature 2006;442:997-1002, Waldmann H, 987-8
3. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS OF AZITHROMYCIN IN COPD
Macrolide antibiotics may possess anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with increased apoptosis and impaired phagocytosis in the airways. Alveolar macrophages were obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) from 9 subjects with COPD and 10 healthy controls. Alveolar macrophages were purified, then ability to phagocytose apoptotic epithelial cells or neutrophils was measured by flow cytometry in the presence or absence of aziththromycin (500 ng/ml-1). Phagocytosis by alveolar macrophages was reduced in subjects with COPD as compared to healthy controls. Incubation of alveolar macrophages from COPD subjects in azithromycin improved phagocytosis of epithelial cells and neutrophils to levels near those of healthy controls. Editor’s comment: Low dose azithromycin may serve as an adjunct therapy in COPD by promoting increased alveolar macrophage phagocytosis. Hodge S, Hodge G, Brozyna H, et al. Eur Resp J 2006; 28:486-95
To read the additional reviews, click here.
WAO Now: What's New in the World of WAO
Reminder: Applications for US GLORIA for 2007 are still being accepted from regional, state and local societies.
WAO Board Visits the Asia-Pacific Region
Japanese Society of Allergology Fall Meeting, Tokoyo, Japan
Michael Kaliner, WAO President, G. Walter Canonica, WAO President-Elect, and WAO Board Member Lanny Rosenwasser participated in the Japanese Society of Allergology (JSA) Fall Meeting, 2-4 November 2006. They held discussions with the leadership of JSA about future collaborations and also took the opportunity to meet with local sponsors for the World Allergy Congress 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand. The hospitality of JSA was most welcoming and for that WAO would like to express sincere thanks.
Joint WAO and KAAACI symposium, Seoul, Korea
WAO’s Board of Directors met in Seoul, Korea, 3 November 2006. The meeting was organized to coincide with the Korean Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology (KAAACI) and WAO Joint Congress 2006 and the 9th West Pacific Allergy Symposium (WPAS) in Seoul, 3-5 November 2006. Members from WAO’s Board of Directors participated in an excellent scientific program that showcased ongoing research in Korea and its neighboring countries from the Asia-Pacific Region. Special lectures were presented by WAO President, Michael Kaliner, who spoke on Global Management of Rhinitis, Sinusitis and Asthma, and by WAO Board Member Jean Bousquet, who introduced the World Health Organization’s Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases program, of which WAO is a founding member. Keynote lectures presented by Korean experts included Viral Infection and Asthma, presented by Joon Sung Le. You-Young Kim’s special lecture discussed the Practical Implementation of an Easy Asthma Management Program. The Congress presented an opportunity to provide information to local allergists about plans for the World Allergy Congress in Bangkok. WAO would like to extend warm thanks to KAAACI and the West Pacific Allergy Organization for their hospitality and collaboration.
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And In Other News
Allergy Book Reviews
Immunogenomics and Human Disease
Editor: Andras Falus
ISBN #: ISBN: 0-470-03324-X
List price: $180.00 USD
Available from: Wiley
Reviewer: Gary Hellermann, PhD
University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA
This is a collection of 23 articles by an international group of authors focusing on the use of bioinformatics in studying human disease. The content includes discussions and examples of the use of new technology for studying the pathology of immune diseases such as asthma, lupus and arthritis, and the role of the immune system in cancer biology.
The editor refers to the specific area of bioinformatics as immunogenomics, the application of new laboratory methods and computing technology to the study of variations in the human genome as they relate to diseases involving the immune system. The use of individual human DNA sequence information for disease research, designing new drugs and therapies and individually tailoring treatments is of the highest importance in this century. The breadth and depth of the subject presents a daunting task to any editor hoping to produce a useful work, but this collection has succeeded in covering the field in sufficient detail and variety to match that hope.
Although primarily aimed at researchers, others such as clinicians, students and those engaged in drug discovery will also profit from reading this collection of articles. Dr Falus is professor and chairman of the Department of Genetics, Cell and Immunobiology at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and is the author of over 250 scientific papers.
We are still in the midst of the genomic revolution arising from the sequencing of the human genome and the understanding of this wealth of data at the level of proteins and pathways is the next great challenge. Immunogenomics, the analysis of genomic variations in relation to specific immune system responses, is the focus of this collection of articles by internationally known experts in immunology and bioinformatics. As one of the book's authors put it, "The genome tells us what could happen, the transcriptome tells us what might happen and the proteome tells us what does happen." Obtaining the gene sequence is only the first stage in a complex, multi-step process that is brought out here through detailed description, example and illustration.
The book is not only an up-to-date review, but includes practical information on identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms, using arrays for genomic analysis, photoaffinity labeling, human monocytes and dendritic cells as model systems, identifying diagnostic markers, and much more. Its usefulness also stems from the individual authors' attempts to define the terms, concepts and methods employed in bioinformatics. A standardization of the language used in this complex area should greatly facilitate communication. From the general to the specific, this book provides a comprehensive cross-section of current knowledge on the rapidly changing field of genomics as it applies to the immune system.
The Immune Response: Basic and Clinical Principles
By: Tak W. Mak and Mary E. Saunders
List price: $139.95 USD
Available from: Elsevier
Reviewer: Sam Mehr, MBBS, BMedSci
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, NSW, Australia
The majority of individuals studying or working in the field of Immunology would be familiar with the texts of Roitt, Abbas and Janeway. Outside of these texts, there are few other textbooks that are able to provide a comprehensive overview of Basic and Clinical Immunology. This textbook is an important contribution, providing the reader with a clear, complete and concise overview of the immune system in both health and disease.
The book is divided into two parts, Basic Immunology (Part I) and Clinical Immunology (Part II). The purpose is to introduce the reader to the basic concepts of immunology before delving into more advanced immunological topics. The establishment of these concepts enables the reader to understand how derangements of these basic mechanisms can then lead to clinical disease.
The target audience is wide, and includes undergraduates, graduates and seasoned clinical and laboratory Immunologists.
The authors have written all the chapters and have had chapters reviewed by sub-specialists in the field. Each chapter starts with a table of contents outlining the material to be covered. Historical notes are often provided at the start of each chapter, enabling the reader to comprehend how various immunological concepts came into being and how these have changed with time. The text is clear and succinct and this combined with the excellent illustrations and tables make this an easy read. The authors direct the reader to other suggested reading material at the end of each chapter for those who require an even more meticulous level of detail.
This is a valuable book for any veteran immunologist or student of immunology. The authors’ ability to make difficult concepts easy to understand through clear explanations and illustrations is its major attraction.
Find more allergy book reviews on the WAO Website here.