Senior research officer Melanie Prout (left) and Professor Graham Le Gros

Scope 66 - Allergic disease research pays tribute to 30-year strong relationship

30 July 2018, Allergies, Asthma, Immune system, Professor Graham Le Gros

The Malaghan Institute’s allergic disease programme recently published a paper that honours an outstanding 30-year collaboration with Dr William (Bill) Paul at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC.

“We were invited to publish some work in tribute to Bill,” says Professor Graham Le Gros, leader of the asthma, allergy and parasitic disease programme at the Institute.

“The purpose of the paper was to understand how a key hormone, IL-4 – which has long been associated with allergic disease – may actually control the development of the disease in the first place.

“It’s a question I worked on with Bill, who was my postdoctoral supervisor between 1987 and 1998, but which we were never able to answer in his lifetime – partly because of the limits of technology back then.”

Prof Le Gros says his research with senior research officer Melanie Prout found that IL-4 plays an important role in the skin with development of atopic dermatitis (eczema) – but not in other places like the lymph node. This provides direction on where to target anti-IL-4 therapies for them to be most effective.

“The other significance of this paper is that it closes off a really important chapter in our 30-year relationship with Dr Paul. He has been a person whose support of all members of the scientific community is acknowledged and respected.”