World Allergy Congress News & Updates

October 18, 2011
Contact: Marechiel Santos-Lang
+1 414 276 1791

Just a month and a half from now many of us will meet in Cancún to participate in the XXII World Allergy Congress (WAC 2011). We want to share with you the most up-to-date news about the Congress and to highlight themes from the Scientific Program. In this issue we would like to tell you about one of the most important topics for allergists that started decades ago with an event that marked the beginning of a new era: the discovery of IgE.

Until 1966 this immunoglobulin was not known, and several researchers had tried without success to characterize reaginic (or anaphylactic) antibodies following the development of the Prausnitz-Küstner (P-K) test. It was the tenacity of Drs Teruko Ishizaka and Kimishige Ishizaka combined with the genius of Hans Bennich and SGO Johansson that led them to find a new class of immunoglobulin that later came to be known as IgE. Please find list of sources below for references to articles that document the details of this discovery.

We invite you to attend Dr. Johansson’s lecture on Monday 5 December at 16:50 in Bacalar Hall of the Cancún Center Conventions & Exhibitions.

Remember to register before Monday,
31 October so that you can
save on your registration fee!

S. Gunnar O. Johansson, MD, PhD 

Since 1980, SGO Johansson has been Professor Emeritus in Clinical Immunology and Allergy in the Department of Medicine, Karolinska University in Stockholm, Sweden. In late 1966 as a student of medicine at the University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden, he and Dr. Hans Bennich described the case of a unique myeloma patient producing an immunoglobulin that had been unknown until then, a protein they named “IgND” after the initials of the patient. Dr. Dennis Stanworth in England had been working on characterizing reaginic activity to horse dander allergen by the P-K test, and Drs Teruko Ishizaka and Kimishige Ishizaka in Denver had shown that anti-yE could block the P-K reaction with ragweed allergen. Together with these researchers, Drs Johansson and Bennich showed that anti-yE reacted with isolated IgND, that anti-IgND inhibited the reaginic activity of yE-containing fractions, and immunoglobulin E was officially accepted by the World Health Organization as a new class of human immunogloblin.


Stanworth, DR. The discovery of IgE. Allergy 1993; 48: 67-71.

This Week’s Citation Classic CC/Number 50 December 14, 1981. Johansson SGO, Mellbin T & Vahlquist B. Immunoglobulin levels in Ethiopian preschool children with special reference to high concentrations of immunoglobulin E (IgND). Lancet 1(7552): 1118-21, 1968.
Abstract to article in Lancet 291(7552): 1118-1121

Bennich HH, Ishizaka K, Johansson SGO et al. Immunoglobulin E, A New Class of Human Immunoglobulin. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 1968; 38(1): 151-152.