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Breathing easier – creating a vaccine for asthma

24 November 2014

We were delighted to announce the patenting and publication of our novel vaccine therapy for asthma in October. This new technology was successful in a mouse model and has the potential to be applied to other allergic diseases.

Many years of hard work are ahead until this treatment could be a reality for the one in four children affected by asthma in New Zealand, but the result is a promising step forward. Mountain running champion Melissa Moon, who had to manage pollen-related asthma throughout her 20-year career, is excited about the development.

“To have an asthma treatment would literally be a breath of fresh air! To be able to get through summer with energy instead of struggling to get out of bed in the morning, short of breath, would be wonderful.

“Asthma can be very challenging as an athlete, where every breath you take affects your performance. 

Some summer months I would be lucky and race well due to a low pollen count, but other summers I would have to stop racing when my body felt so fatigued and I was unable to get enough oxygen into my lungs”, she says.

“With my restricted oxygen uptake, I visualised myself training at altitude, telling myself how strong and fit I was going to be during the winter months when I could finally get a decent breath of air!”

Moon won the Empire State Building stair climb in 2010 and 2012, was twice world mountain running champion and was named 2001 Sportswoman of the Year. She is also proud to be a Malaghan Institute Ambassador.

“It has been very rewarding supporting the Malaghan Institute as an ambassador. I have felt privileged to be associated with the Run for Research (www.runforresearch. co.nz), which combines sport with medical research, to create as much awareness as possible."