The Danish Council for Strategic Research (DSF) has donated 3.5 mil. Euro to the project “The ABC Birth Cohort Study: A Clinical Study on Individualized Treatment and Prevention of Childhood Asthma, Eczema and Allergy”. The project is a strategic research alliance between groups from the University of Copenhagen, Statens Serum Institut and The Technical University of Denmark.
Asthma and allergy are the most common chronic diseases in children in the industrialized countries and poorly controlled. Inadequate understanding of the underlying heterogeneity of the disease mechanisms is the reason for current failure of prevention and treatment. It is our fundamental hypothesis that asthma and allergy are caused by immune deregulation from gene-environment interactions occurring during pregnancy and early infancy. To address this, we are proposing a translational research alliance between our clinical pediatric research unit currently conducting comprehensive longitudinal assessments of a birth cohort born to mothers completing a randomized controlled trial of nutritional supplements, and advanced basic science units including clinical-microbiology and -immunology as well as genomic sciences. The integrative systems biology structure of the data-mining, data-integration and interpretation is a unique feature of the team.
The focus of this translational research proposal is the patient and the clinical setting. This is reflected in the clinical intervention trial, the clinically applicable novel diagnostic methods and the aim to translate this research into clinical practice and improve disease prevention, diagnosis and individualized treatment.
The research objective is to study the interactions within the maternal diet, early immune development, microbial colonization, airway inflammation and clinical disease presentation in young children. This ‘gene-diet-microbe’-interaction on immune programming will be examined in a randomized, doubleblind, factorial trial conducted in 800 pregnant women receiving marine and vitamin D. Their children will form a new longitudinal birth cohort study – the ABC birth cohort.
Furthermore, it is our objective to identify novel endophenotypes associated with distinct molecular mechanisms. Novel endophenotypes and biomarkers will enable distinguishing groups with more uniform responses to treatment and the results will be translated into clinical practice including disease prevention, diagnosis and individualized treatments with improved efficacy, reduced risk of side-effects and more cost-effective medicines.