Allergy and COPD
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ALLERGY AND CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASES
The prevalence of allergy and chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is rapidly increasing, both in Korea and overseas. With widespread chronic disorders in developed countries, medical costs are increasing accordingly.
Research on Allergic and Chronic Respiratory diseases
Although allergic diseases are diagnosed through a combination of examinations, such as medical history and clinical tests, various symptoms and prognoses may differ among patients according to diverse factors including environment, genotype, and condition of the immune system. These factors make it difficult to diagnose and treat these diseases. Therefore, there is a need for nationwide disease-control technology. In this regard, various efforts to discover and validate allergic disease-associated variants were made via consortia and by collaboration with researchers in the fields of allergic diseases and genomics. Research to discover genetic variants associated with adult asthma was conducted with the Korean population. In addition, this year, research on genetic and epigenetic factors in childhood severe atopic dermatitis was carried out . A comparative analysis between immunological factors such as the T helper (Th) 1 and 2 cell ratio (Th1/Th2 ratio) and the plasma level of cytokines was also conducted in a Korean population comprising normal individuals and patients with allergies. Experimental murine models of atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergic march were designed and tested for the establishment of an intramural research system. To improve diseasecontrol technology, investigation of various factors related to allergic diseases in Korean normal children, and research on validation of standardized allergic materials, have been performed. Large-scale epidemiologic and clinical information from Korean normal children have been acquired and analyzed to generate a disease-related database of normal reference values and disease prevalence. A standard operating procedure (SOP) for allergen production has also been established for evaluation of the main allergens in Korea. The Cohort for Childhood Origin of Asthma (COCOA) and allergic diseases study has also been carried out to identify risk factors for chronic respiratory and allergic diseases; it can contribute to public health policy by providing a basis for the prevention and control of diseases.
Establishment of an Academic Network for Allergic anc Chronic Respiratory Diseases
To support research and infrastructure for respiratory diseases, the Division of Allergy and Chronic Respiratory Diseases was established at the KNIH in 2014. Many researchers and clinicians have made an effort to control and manage allergic diseases in Korea, creating a need to coordinate various and dispersed results and databases accordingly. Therefore, the Division encouraged an academic network by holding a workshop with many experts. This year, the first workshop entitled Asthma Cohort Studies was held in Korea. Similar workshops or symposia for allergy and chronic respiratory diseases will be held periodically to expand knowledge about management and prevention of the diseases, and to reinforce research support for improving disease-control technology.