The Competence Centre Allergology / Immunology comprises the following sections:
The competence center focuses on the study of pathomechanisms which lead to the incidence and persistence of respiratory diseases caused by occupational allergens and irritative substances. In addition, the effect of complex bioaerosols and individual constituents upon the immune system is studied, with particular consideration being given to the components of innate immunity. A further important aspect of the competence center’s work is the identification and characterization of occupational sources of sensitization. Besides the irritative and sensitizing effects of occupational hazardous substances, substances with annoying effects and their influence upon immunological processes are increasingly being addressed. Research activities include studies of occupational allergies caused by flours, enzymes, mites, fungi, natural rubber latex, animal dander, wood dust, and low-molecular substances such as isocyanates and acid anhydrides. Immunological methods are also created for allergens and microbial components in order to monitor and quantify these agents with high sensitivity at workplaces. To detect inflammatory processes, non-invasive methods for collecting samples for various parts of the respiratory tract are increasingly being applied for analyzing cellular and soluble components, among other parameters.
The results obtained by the competence center are integrated into the standardized methods for the diagnosis of allergic diseases of the respiratory tract and into assessment of the clinical and diagnostic relevance of non-invasive methods. The competence center‘s researchers are involved in the conception of national guidelines and international consensus papers on allergy diagnostics, the use of non-invasive methods, and the detection and quantification of allergy exposure in the environment and at workplaces. They are also active on national and international boards of scientific societies, and on the WHO/IUIS Allergen Standardization Committee and the IUIS Allergen Nomenclature Sub-Committee. For the statutory accident insurance institutions and for the production of expert opinions related to workplace-related health disorders, the Competence Center of Allergology/Immunology offers specific serological antibody detection, primarily to occupational allergens, and also the quantification of selected occupational allergens in material, dust, and airborne dust samples.
Another focus is the provision of consultancy to the DGUV and its members in all issues of biological exposure and effects upon the immune system, particularly those caused by allergens and omponents of organic dust.
The Competence Centre's findings are channelled into the standardization of methods for the diagnosis of allergic diseases and into the assessment of the clinical and diagnostic impact of non-invasive methods. Detection methods for exposition control at the workplace are developed for risk evaluation.