Ambrosia artemisiifolia, also known as common or short ragweed, is widespread in Romania. The pollen of this plant is known for its potential to cause allergic reactions in late summer and autumn and represents a major health problem in Romania and in neighboring countries.
Diagnosis and vaccine-based treatment of ragweed allergy can be inefficient due to the quality of the allergen extracts. The utilization of recombinant allergens may solve the existing problems in diagnosis and treatment.
The main objective of the INSPIRED (INnovative Strategies for Prevention, diagnosis and therapy of ragweed pollen Induced Respiratory Diseases) project is to develop a new diagnostic kit based on recombinant allergens, which will enable personalized effective therapies for ragweed allergy patients.
A secondary objective of the INSPIRED project is to evaluate commercially available ragweed allergen vaccines. The results of this study in combination with the ragweed allergy diagnosis will enable clinicians to predict the outcome of allergen-specific immunotherapy for the patients.
A panel of 9 Ambrosia allergens were produced in recombinant form (Fig. 1). Analysis of the patients’ sera showed that many patients are allergic to several allergens and not only to one allergen meaning the evaluation of each recombinant allergen is necessary (Fig. 2).
ELISA analysis revealed different IgE reactivity towards the individual allergens (Table 1). Some of this IgE reactivity may be due to cross-reactivity to allergens from other sources such as Artemisia. Quantitative IgE measurements were performed with the ImmunoCAP system (Fig. 3) to further confirm IgE reactivity profiles.
With the recombinant allergens produced at the OncoGen Center it is possible to determine an exact allergen reactivity profile of each ragweed allergic patient. In collaboration with the Medical University of Vienna, the recombinant allergens will be included in an allergen chip, which will enable a quick and accurate personalized diagnosis (Fig. 4).