Patients get a voice in allergy research

2 minute read

Thousands are affected by allergy and anaphylaxis. Researchers want to tap into their lived experience.

Australia’s first consumer allergy advisory group hopes to stem the growing tide of allergy and anaphylaxis in Australia by making allergy research more inclusive and relevant to patients.

According to the latest Government data, up to 10% of Australian infants and 4% of adults have a food allergy, 10% report having a penicillin allergy and 12 people die of bee and wasp stings each year. Almost 20% of Australians are affected by allergic rhinitis.

National Allergy Centre of Excellence director and paediatric allergist and vaccinologist Professor Kirsten Perrett said the centre was working with consumers to advance allergy research and healthcare.

“Now – more than ever – consumers, community members, clinicians, researchers and organisations must work together to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians living with allergic disease,” she said in a statement.

“Our consumers will play a pivotal role in advising on the development of NACE tools and resources to help accelerate allergy research, as well as individual research projects to ensure we are asking the right questions and addressing the issues that matter most to people living with allergies.”

The National Allergy Centre of Excellence announced its inaugural consumer advisory group ahead of the annual ASCIA conference in Sydney earlier this month.

Consumer Advisory Group co-chair and South Australian lawyer Lisa Gamble has respiratory and drug allergies and is having immunotherapy to reduce her allergic rhinitis symptoms.

“We look forward to these opportunities for the NACE Consumer Advisory Group to help make allergy research more relevant, inclusive and effective in addressing patient needs and improving healthcare outcomes,” she said.

“My son and husband also have multiple allergies so our family is impacted daily by these diseases – I have many lived experiences I can share to help inform allergy research.”

Consumer Advisory Group member and NSW paediatric registrar Dr Andrew Fong has had severe food allergies throughout his life, as well as eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis.

“I have experienced multiple life-threatening anaphylactic reactions and continue to be highly allergic and at risk of anaphylaxis to dairy,” he said.

“This group will have a positive impact on people’s lives because consumers will be more involved in the conception, design and implementation of allergy research from the start.”

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