Allergy and Immunology Research in Québec
The specialty of allergy and immunology is in constant evolution thanks to research. Research is undertaken at a fundamental level (often on animals or in laboratories using human cells) or at a clinical level on humans. There are research centres throughout the world, including Québec. There are actually 4 faculties of medicine in Québec (Laval, Montréal, McGill and Sherbrooke), and in each one of these centres, there is research undertaken in immunology and allergy.
The investigators of different universities are often asked to publicize their research activities, including their clinical research projects: in this way, not only do they inform the public of what is happening locally, but they are able to facilitate recruitment of interested patients to participate in these research projects.
It is important, however, to understand that ongoing research in a particular subject does not necessarily indicate that there is an approved clinical application, or that this will necessarily translate into an approved clinical application in the near future. One subject always in the news, as it has been for many years, is oral desensitization to foods. To date, there is no such approved treatment indication in North America. However, a breath of hope has appeared in the last several years regarding oral densensitization, and clinical research is ongoing in many centres across the world, including Québec.
Certain of these research studies have indeed led to concrete changes in our daily practice.
Of particular merit is Québec expertise on the subject of egg allergy and influenza vaccination, information that has appeared on our website and that has been used to inform clinicians and patients since October 2012.
In addition, the doctor Christine McCusker, allergist at the Montréal Hospital for Sick Children and Professor of the Department of Pediatrics, McGill University, directed her team in the development of an intranasal vaccine that veers the immune system away from allergies. This work was named one of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2015 by Québec Science Magazine!