Future developments in allergy prevention: a matter of integrating medical, natural and social sciences


  • L.J.W.J. Gilissen
  • H.J. Wichers
  • H.F.J. Savelkoul
  • G. Beers


Allergy is a multifactorial disease and has a significant impact on society. Strategies for allergy prevention require integrated and multidisciplinary approaches. A knowledge framework has been designed for this purpose to be helpful in the identification of known and lacking scientific details, and to visualize and coordinate the various activities in the development of a particular prevention strategy. In this framework, the development of allergy prevention strategies is on the edge of medical and natural sciences on the one hand and social sciences, including economics, communication and education, on the other. First, fundamental research activities are carried out to understand the characteristics of the patient, the allergen and the way these two interact. Next, the resulting knowledge enables the design of applications for allergy prevention strategies, directed to diagnosis, detection, reduction of allergen loads and changes in life style. Such designs may aim at society as a whole but also at the individual patients, depending on the need. Then, the framework also includes the approval by and implementation into society of a designed prevention strategy. At last, education and dissemination form a necessary category in the framework to establish a solid knowledge infrastructure embedding the allergy prevention strategy. Such framework approaches for the development of prevention strategies require the development of strict cooperation in extended research consortia at national and international level. Examples of such consortia are described.