The origin of the epidemic of IgE-associated (allergic) diseases is unclear. MeDALL (Mechanisms of the Development of ALLergy), an FP7 European Union project (No. 264357), aims to generate novel knowledge on the mechanisms of initiation of allergy and to propose early diagnosis, prevention, and targets for therapy. A novel phenotype definition and an integrative translational approach are needed to understand how a network of molecular and environmental factors can lead to complex allergic diseases. A novel, stepwise, large-scale, and integrative approach will be led by a network of complementary experts in allergy, epidemiology, allergen biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, epigenetics, functional genomics, bioinformatics, computational and systems biology. The following steps are proposed: (i) Identification of 'classical' and 'novel' phenotypes in existing birth cohorts; (ii) Building discovery of the relevant mechanisms in IgE-associated allergic diseases in existing longitudinal birth cohorts and Karelian children; (iii) Validation and redefinition of classical and novel phenotypes of IgE-associated allergic diseases; and (iv) Translational integration of systems biology outcomes into health care, including societal aspects. MeDALL will lead to: (i) A better understanding of allergic phenotypes, thus expanding current knowledge of the genomic and environmental determinants of allergic diseases in an integrative way; (ii) Novel diagnostic tools for the early diagnosis of allergy, targets for the development of novel treatment modalities, and prevention of allergic diseases; (iii) Improving the health of European citizens as well as increasing the competitiveness and boosting the innovative capacity of Europe, while addressing global health issues and ethical issues.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.