GA2LEN 'Network of Excellence' calls for more focus on allergies in FP7

October 10, 2006

Brussels, 09 Oct 2006

The Network of Excellence (NoE) GA2LEN is urging policy makers to support the European Parliament's proposal to include allergic diseases in the health priorities of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). While allergies are mentioned among the food research priorities in the European Commission's proposal, members of GA2LEN would like to see the wider allergy problem a top priority for health research. Only 8% of allergies in Europe are related to food.

'[The] absence of [the] wider allergy problem as a top concern in health research agenda threatens to compromise overall progress in the understanding of this complex condition,' says the Network in a statement.

Allergies are a global problem, although the presentation and cause of the reactions vary. Researchers believe that the many different aspects of the condition, as well as its triggers, must be addressed if we are to gain a comprehensive understanding of allergic diseases as a whole.

Allergies can be fatal. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), asthma kills someone in Europe every hour. And the problem is becoming more widespread -one child in three is now allergic to something, and by 2015, half of all Europeans may be suffering from one or more allergic condition.

For sufferers, allergies can have a major impact of daily life. Children with allergic diseases miss days at school and must sometimes abstain from sport and other recreational activities, while breathing and skin problems dent the confidence of children and adults.

GA2LEN also highlights the financial costs of allergies, which estimates suggest amount to €100 billion per year.

The GA2LEN network brings together 26 allergy research centres around Europe with the aim of advancing diagnosis, prevention and treatment of allergic diseases. In recent months, a European database of comparable, longitudinal epidemiological studies, known has cohorts, has been completed. This should help scientists to conduct a more reliable analysis of the multiple genetic and environmental factors causing allergies.

For further information on GA2LEN, please visit:
http://www.ga2len.net

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