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The Allergy Epidemic: TV One Sunday 1 February

30 January 2015


Our Director of Research Graham Le Gros will share his insights into New Zealand’s, and most developed nations, growing rates of allergy sufferers – the allergy epidemic on Sunday night, 1 February TV One 7pm. 

The programme features families managing their lives with children, who by simply touching the wrong food can end up in their local Emergency Department. 


On 29 January TV3 ran a story about peanut allergies and asked Graham explain the rise in this particular allergy, and news from Australian researchers. WATCH HERE

Many older people are bewildered by the rise in hyper-sensitive children; they shake their heads and recall childhoods where, an allergy was usually something you grew out of.  But now, as grandparents, they cannot deny what is happening to their children’s children; and they are asking why, why now in the 21st century, is allergic disease such a global health issue? Graham recently participated in a Radio New Zealand panel about the rise in Food Allergies.  LISTEN HERE

The Malaghan Institute’s researchers are uncovering the clues. It is now widely accepted that allergic diseases such as eczema, asthma, food allergy and hay fever, are mediated by the immune system.  The role of this complex system is to defend us from external infections ranging from the tiniest viruses to large parasitic worms.  Before it can do so however, like a young child, it needs to be educated as to what is ‘friend’ and what is ‘foe’.   


Although we are not yet at a place where we can say definitively what is causing this tremendous growth in allergies, our research is breaking new ground internationally.  Last year we shared our discovery of a new vaccine technology, successfully treating asthma in mice, and we hope to produce a vaccine for asthma in humans within five years.  The novel approach wakes up the body’s own immune response and has the potential to be applied to other allergic diseases.  ASTHMA VACCINE DISCOVERY

The Malaghan Institute embarked on a research journey many decades ago and although we are a registered charity, we are one with world-class technology and international aspirations. Our scientists work towards better treatments or cures for specific diseases such as cancer or asthma, by understanding the specifics of what is happening at a cellular level in our bodies.  You may have seen over the New Year an international team led by the Malaghan Institute’s Professor Mike Berridge are rewriting cellular biology textbooks – demonstrating DNA transfer between cells not seen before.   Our pride in Mike’s discovery and how it will contribute to the international body of medical research is a pride we hope all New Zealanders will share in.  WORLD FIRST DISCOVERY

The generosity and support of Government and individuals continues to motivate us, as do the people facing illness and disease every day across New Zealand.  We are more than determined to deliver breakthroughs for the families you will meet in TV One’s Sunday programme, and for all of us.