3rd international ImpARAS Conference

From October 10-12th 2017, the 3rd international ImpARAS Conference  was held in Helsingør, Denmark. During this well attended conference, many aspects of food allergy were presented and discussed. Geert Houben from TNO was invited to give a presentation on the Threshold of Concern, which is a well-established concept in toxicology, and to speculate on the question whether such a concept could also apply to food allergy.

In his presentation “The Threshold of Toxicological Concern; a perspective also applicable to allergenicity?”, Geert explained the Threshold of Toxicological Concern concept and explained that it would be feasible to apply a similar concept to the elicitation phase of food allergy. By posing the question whether it might also be possible to apply it to the sensitization phase, he introduced the presentation by Charlotte Madsen from DTU, Denmark. In her presentation “Is it possible to define a Threshold of Concern for Allergic Sensitisation?”, Charlotte gave an introduction to several discussion session held later during the conference.

As a follow-up, a working group of ImpARAS will further investigate the feasibility of and possible approach to defining a Threshold of Concern for Allergic Sensitisation in the coming year.

Jolanda van Bilsen from TNO was invited to give a presentation on the application of bioinformatics / systems immunology for discovering biomarkers for oral immunotherapy in food allergy.
Jolanda explained how Bayesian networks and topological analyses really gives you a total different perspective on your data. Jolanda gave some examples that illustrate how the approaches may help to reveal complex relationships between biomarkers and helps you to identify the relevance of the analyzed biomarkers.
Moreover, how they may enable the identification of prognostic markers that predict which patient has highest chance for successful immunotherapy (dynamic Bayesian networks).
Her presentation was followed by a discussion in a working group of ImpARAS. There is an interest for a training session/workshop aiming at providing a better understanding of the strengths (and limitations) of the bioinformatics approach.