A world first international trial of a Western Australian developed vaccine to prevent asthma in children was launched today by Premier Alan Carpenter.

The treatment, developed at the Telethon Institute by Professors Pat Holt and Peter Sly, involves giving babies and toddlers an oral vaccine comprising tiny doses of common allergens to stimulate their natural immune responses.

It is expected this natural response will protect children from developing harmful allergic responses in the future.

Announcing the trial at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Mr Carpenter said the treatment was unique in that it was based on a preventive approach to asthma and allergies in children.

"This is ground-breaking treatment in that it is the first in the world to try to prevent allergies and asthma before they develop in children," the Premier said.

"Traditional treatments have started after a child has developed allergies, making it more difficult to treat effectively."

The trial will be run from Perth with 200 children from WA, Melbourne and New York, expanding later into Germany and Sweden.

Mr Carpenter said WA was playing a world-leading role in asthma research.

"With up to 40 per cent of children in Australia suffering from asthma and allergies, this vaccine has great potential to benefit not only the thousands of affected children in this country, but in countries around the world," he said.

The asthma vaccine trial is long-term and results are expected in four years.

 

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Asthma vaccine for children a world first for Western Australia
3/04/06

A vaccine designed to prevent asthma in children and developed in Western Australia is part of a world first international trial launched today by Premier Alan Carpenter.

Announcing the trial at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Mr Carpenter said the treatment was unique in that it was based on a preventive approach to asthma and allergies in children.

"This is ground-breaking treatment in that it is the first in the world to try to prevent allergies and asthma before they develop in children," the Premier said.

"Traditional treatments have started after a child has developed allergies, making it more difficult to treat effectively."

The treatment, developed at the Telethon Institute by Professors Pat Holt and Peter Sly, involves giving babies and toddlers an oral vaccine comprising tiny doses of common allergens to stimulate their natural immune responses.

It is expected this natural response will protect children from developing harmful allergic responses in the future.

The trial will be run from Perth with 200 children from WA, Melbourne and New York, expanding later into Germany and Sweden.

Mr Carpenter said WA was playing a world-leading role in asthma research.

"With up to 40 per cent of children in Australia suffering from asthma and allergies, this vaccine has great potential to benefit not only the thousands of affected children in this country, but in countries around the world," he said.

"I recently announced $1.7million in grants to scientists at the Telethon Institute, and I am pleased the State Government has been able to assist the institute's research program in this way."

The asthma vaccine trial is long-term and results are expected in four years.

The trial had support from childhood asthma centres around the world and will be overseen by a range of leading organisations including the US Food and Drug Administration, the US National Institutes of Health, collaborating scientific institutes in five other countries and the Princess Margaret Hospital's ethics committee.

To participate in the trial:
- Children aged between 18 and 30 months may be eligible for the study if they have eczema, food allergies and a family history of asthma or allergies.
- For more information, contact the research nurse at the Telethon Institute on 9489 7813