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Acknowledgement
The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Allergy and Immunology Research Unit (AIRU)

Allergy immunology research team

The Allergy and Immunology Research Unit (AIRU) is located within the Department of Allergy and Immunology, and conducts several trials to investigating ways to prevent and treat food allergy.


The unit is part of the Department of Allergy and Immunology at the Women's and Children's Health Network, and is recognised nationally and internationally as a tertiary care referral centre for South Australia. It is affiliated with the University of Adelaide and works closely with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) as well as interstate and international research collaborators.

Clinical research trials are conducted to develop safe and effective ways to prevent and treat food allergies. The unit has performed trials investigating how maternal diets (omega-3 fatty acids or allergen) during pregnancy and lactation can prevent allergies, efficacy of bacterial products or human milk oligosaccharides in the neonate to prevent food allergy, and oral, injectable or skin peanut exposure to potentially treat peanut allergy (peanut immunotherapy or desensitisation).

Australia has some of the highest rates of food allergy in the world, and this creates a significant challenge for children, families, and the health services. AIRU’s vision is the prevention and treatment of food allergy.

How food allergies can be prevented at a young age and how children with existing food allergies can be treated, are important areas of research. The outcomes of our trials have the potential to change the lives of those affected with allergic diseases.

The Department of Allergy and Immunology at the Women's and Children's Health Network, is recognised nationally and internationally for allergy and vaccine safety research. AIRU is affiliated with the University of Adelaide and our researchers work closely with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and interstate and international collaborators.

Our clinical research trials are aimed at developing safe and effective ways to prevent and treat food allergies. The unit has performed trials investigating: how the intake of omega-3 fatty acids or allergens in maternal diets during pregnancy and lactation can prevent allergies; the efficacy of bacterial products or human milk oligosaccharides in the neonate to prevent food allergy; and oral, injectable or skin peanut exposure to potentially treat peanut allergy (peanut immunotherapy or desensitisation).

Why participate in a trial?

Participants in clinical research trials can have an active role in improving their own and their children's health, as well as the health of others in the community.

Research trial participants may be reimbursed for travel and parking expenses.

If you are interested in taking part in one of our current clinical trials (listed below), please call (08) 8161 9156 or email health.wchnallergyresearch@sa.gov.au for further information.

Allergy studies currently recruiting patients

ARAVAX (Peanut Trial)

Does your child have a peanut allergy and between 4 and 11 years of age (not yet turned 12 years)? Then this study may be beneficial to your child.

Peanut allergy is common and currently the only recommended treatment is peanut avoidance. This trial involves giving part of the peanut protein (called a peptide) to your child to investigate whether this can improve tolerance or achieve remission of your child’s peanut allergy. The product is given by injection into the top layers of the skin (intradermal) injection. The treatment period is monthly injections for 12 months. Clinically observed food challenges will be conducted in hospital to assess if peanut can be tolerated before and after the intervention.

  • Study Name: ARAVAX (AVX-201)
  • Sponsor: Aravax Pty Ltd
  • Age Group: 12 to 17 years (Cohort 1); 4 to 11 years (Cohort 2)
  • Duration of study: 18 months – ongoing
  • Study Phase: Recruiting
VITESSE (Peanut Trial)

Does your child have a peanut allergy and between 4 and 8 years of age (not yet turned 9 years)?

Peanut allergy is common and currently the only recommended treatment is peanut avoidance. This trial involves applying a patch (containing a very low dose of peanut) to the skin of your child to investigate if this can improve tolerance or achieve remission of your child’s peanut allergy. The intervention involves daily patches (worn all day) for 12 months. Clinically observed food challenges will be conducted in hospital to assess if peanut can be tolerated before and after the intervention.

PREGGNUTs Trial

Are you pregnant and do two family members (you, partner, other child) have an allergic disorder (asthma, eczema, hayfever, food allergy)?

By one year of age, approximately 10% of babies may have developed an egg allergy. This research trial is testing whether the amount of eggs and peanuts a mother eats during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding has an influence on developing food allergy in the baby. This trial is investigating if maternal high or low dose exposure to egg and peanut during pregnancy and whilst breast feeding has any relationship with the development of food allergies.

  • Study Name: PREGGNUTS
  • Age Group: Women who are able to give informed consent, with a singleton pregnancy of less than 23 weeks gestation and who are planning to breastfeed for at least 4 months. Fetus to have at least two family members (mother, father or siblings) with medically diagnosed allergic disease (asthma, eczema, hay-fever or IgE mediated food allergy).
  • Study Phase: Recruiting
Rash and Hypersensitivity reactions following immunisation

There is little evidence on rash and hypersensitivity reactions following immunisation and management of these reactions. This means that there can be a wide variation between how adverse events following immunisation may be managed. We hope that by performing this study, we will be able to establish better classification procedures of rash following immunisation, identify risk factors for these reactions and the best management for a reaction.

  • Study Name: Rash and Hypersensitivity reactions following immunisation
  • HREC number: HREC/19/WCHN/71
  • Sponsor: N/A
  • Age Group: <18 years
  • Study Phase: Recruiting

Allergy studies in progress but not recruiting patients

ADORED Trial

This trial involves investigating the safety and tolerability of an oral product with the potential to prevent the development of allergic disorders in high risk babies. The product is a mix of a live biological product that is added to breast milk or infant formula. The trial will hopefully help us improve the health outcomes for those at highest risk of developing allergic disease.

  • Study Name: Adored Study (STMC-103H)
  • HREC number: 2021/ETH00838
  • Sponsor: Siolta Therapeutics
  • Age Group: Neonates less than 7 days of age
  • Duration of study: 2 years / ongoing
  • Study Phase: Not recruiting
PPOIT Long-Term Follow-On

The prevalence of food allergy has increased, particularly in westernised countries. The need for a curative treatment is greatest for peanut allergy because this is usually life-long and the most common cause of anaphylaxis-related fatality. Oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been explored as a strategy to induce tolerance to food allergens.

  • Study Name: PPOIT-003 Follow-On
  • Age Group: 1 – 10 years
  • Study Phase: Not recruiting
Chest symptoms study

The aim of this study is to describe the experiences of children who have had chest symptoms (chest pain, chest tightness, and/or shortness of breath) without a diagnosis of myocarditis/pericarditis (inflammation of the heart) after their COVID-19 vaccine, to see how they are 3-6 months and 12-18 months later and how it’s impacted their life. Information from this project will help doctors decide how to safely vaccinate other children.

  • Study Name: Chest symptoms post COVID-19 vaccine
  • HREC number: 2022/HRE00101
  • Sponsor: N/A
  • Age Group: <18 years
  • Study Phase: Not recruiting

Completed studies

EPITOPE

EPITOPE is a global, Phase 3 clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of Viaskin Peanut (patch) for the treatment of peanut-allergic patients one to three years of age.

  • Study Name: EPITOPE
  • HREC number: HREC/18/SCHN/69
  • Sponsor: DBV Technologies S. A.
  • Age Group: 1 – 3 years
  • Study Phase: Not recruiting
EPOPEX

Continuation study from Epitope where all participants will continue onto the active patch for 12 months post passing Epitope. These kids will be subjected to an in hospital observed food challenge to help assess the efficacy of these patches.

  • Study Name: EPOPEX
  • HREC number: 2019/ETH13387
  • Sponsor: DBV Technologies S. A.
  • Age Group: All eligible subjects who completed the EPITOPE study will be offered enrolment into the EPOPEX study.
  • Study Phase: Not recruiting
NOVARTIS Trial

Peanut allergy is common and currently the only recommended treatment is peanut avoidance. This trial will involve the ability of an injected antibody (an anti-IgE monocolonal antibody) to block any food allergic reactions. This trial will help assess if your child will be able to tolerate a greater dose of peanut without a reaction when they are accidentally exposed. This trial also tests the safety and efficacy of this medication and a step closer to hoping to prevent adverse outcomes in allergic kids when exposed to peanut.

  • Study Name: NOVARTIS CQGE031G12301
  • HREC number: HREC/75866/RCHM-2021-268247
  • Sponsor: Novartis
  • Age Group: 12 – 17 years (Cohort 1); 4 – 11 years (Cohort 2)
  • Duration of study: 18 months – ongoing
  • Study Phase: Not recruiting
PPOIT

The prevalence of food allergy has increased, particularly in westernised countries. The need for a curative treatment is greatest for peanut allergy because this is usually life-long and the most common cause of anaphylaxis-related fatality. Oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been explored as a strategy to induce tolerance to food allergens.

The PPOIT (probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy) trials are a series of studies investigating the use of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus and peanut OIT to induce sustained unresponsiveness to peanut, in other words, a possible effective treatment for peanut allergy.

  • Study Name: PPOIT
  • Age Group: 1 – 10 years
  • Study Phase: Not recruiting

Meet the research team

  • Professor Michael Gold – Consultant Allergy/Immunologist, Study Coordinator / PI
  • Associate Professor Patrick Quinn – Consultant Allergy/Immunologist, Study Coordinator / PI
  • Dr Jovanka King – Paediatric Immunologist and Immunopathologist
  • Dr Abigail Cheung – Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist
  • Dr Melissa Norman – Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist
  • Dr Damien Chan – Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist
  • Dr Leigh Mackey Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist
  • Ms Susan Fahy-Scheer - Clinical Research Nurse / Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Dr Anusha Krishnamoorthy – Research Doctor / Sub-PI
  • Dr Kristi Johns Research Doctor / Sub-PI
  • Dr Divya Sreedaran – Research Doctor / Sub-PI
  • Miss Rita Cui – Clinical Research Nurse
  • Miss Sacha Palmer – Nurse Practitioner, Allergy and Immunology
  • Dr Merryn Netting – NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow

Contact

Phone

(08) 8161 9156

Fax

(08) 8161 9295

Email

health.wchnallergyresearch@sa.gov.au

Location

AIRU
Level 6, Clarence Reiger Building
Department of Allergy and Immunology
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide SA 5006