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1.  Clinical validation of controlled grass pollen challenge in the Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) 
Rationale
The Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU), a controlled allergen exposure model of allergic rhinitis (AR), has traditionally utilized ragweed pollen. We sought to clinically validate the use of grass pollen in the EEU.
Methods
Healthy volunteers with a history of AR symptoms during grass pollen season and supportive skin test responses attended the EEU for 3 hrs of rye grass pollen exposure (Lolium Perenne). Non-atopic controls were also recruited. Participants assessed individual rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms to generate Total Nasal Symptom Score (TNSS; max 12) and Total Symptom Score (TSS; max 24) and recorded Peak Nasal Inspiratory Flow (PNIF) q30min while in the EEU. Participants returned the following day for an additional 3 hrs of pollen exposure. Two separate groups allowed for the exploration of lower vs. higher pollen concentrations and subsequent effects on symptoms.
Results
78 participants were screened, of whom 39 were eligible and attended the 2x3h EEU visits, plus 8 non-atopic controls. Mean TSS, TNSS and PNIF values amongst participants in the higher pollen concentration group (target 3500 grains/m3) after the first 3 hr exposure were 18.9, 9.7 and 68 L/min, respectively. In comparison, mean TSS, TNSS and PNIF values in the lower pollen concentration (2500 grains/m3) group were only 13.3, 7.6, and 82 L/min, respectively. The subsequent day of pollen exposure did not appreciably alter the maximal TSS/TNSSs, but rather resulted in a more rapid onset of symptomatology, with higher mean scores at the 30 min, 60 min and 90 min timepoints. The non-atopic controls remained asymptomatic.
Conclusions
This study provides clinical validation of the ability to generate allergic rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms amongst grass-allergic individuals in the EEU.
doi:10.1186/s13223-015-0071-3
PMCID: PMC4316395  PMID: 25653682
Allergic rhinitis; Environmental exposure unit; Grass pollen; Controlled allergen challenge
3.  CSACI position statement: safety of topical calcineurin inhibitors in the management of atopic dermatitis in children and adults 
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a condition frequently encountered in medical practices across the country. Arming ourselves with appropriate and safe treatment modalities to provide relief for this chronic and relapsing inflammatory condition is of utmost importance to our patients and their families. Utilizing topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) for the treatment of AD not responsive to high-potency corticosteroids, or low-potency corticosteroids and localized to the face, eyelids, and skin folds of patients >2 years, is reasonable to include in common practice. Despite the FDA’s Black Box warning, to date no evidence has been published linking the TCIs to an increased incidence of malignancy in either children or adults that establishes causation. The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) therefore recognizes that the benefits of TCIs should be carefully weighed with the theoretical risks in advising patients, and acknowledges that long-term studies remain in progress. The safety and efficacy of topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus should therefore be considered when treating children and adults with AD in Canadian allergy and immunology practices.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-9-24
PMCID: PMC3707742  PMID: 23837743
Atopic dermatitis; Topical corticosteroids; Therapy; Tacrolimus; Pimecrolimus; Lymphoma; Drug safety
4.  The Allergic Rhinitis – Clinical Investigator Collaborative (AR-CIC): nasal allergen challenge protocol optimization for studying AR pathophysiology and evaluating novel therapies 
Background
The Nasal Allergen Challenge (NAC) model allows the study of Allergic Rhinitis (AR) pathophysiology and the proof of concept of novel therapies. The Allergic Rhinitis – Clinical Investigator Collaborative (AR-CIC) aims to optimize the protocol, ensuring reliability and repeatability of symptoms to better evaluate the therapies under investigation.
Methods
20 AR participants were challenged, with 4-fold increments of their respective allergens every 15 minutes, to determine the qualifying allergen concentration (QAC) at which the Total Nasal Symptom Score (TNSS) of ≥10/12 OR a Peak Nasal Inspiratory Flow (PNIF) reduction of ≥50% from baseline was achieved. At the NAC visit, the QAC was used in a single challenge and TNSS and PNIF were recorded at baseline, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, and hourly up to 12 hours. 10 additional ragweed allergic participants were qualified at TNSS of ≥8/12 AND ≥50% PNIF reduction; the Cumulative Allergen Challenge (CAC) of all incremental doses was used during the NAC visit. 4 non-allergic participants were challenged with the highest allergen concentration.
Results
In the QAC study, a group qualified by only meeting PNIF criteria achieved lower TNSS than those achieving either TNSS criteria or PNIIF+TNSS (p<0.01). During the NAC visit, participants in both studies reached their peak symptoms at 15minutes followed by a gradual decline, significantly different from non-allergic participants. The “PNIF only” group experienced significantly lower TNSS than the other groups during NAC visit. QAC and CAC participants did not reach the same peak TNSS during NAC that was achieved at screening. QAC participants qualifying based on TNSS or TNSS+PNIF managed to maintain PNIF scores.
Conclusions
Participants experienced reliable symptoms of AR in both studies, using both TNSS and PNIF reduction as part of the qualifying criteria proved better for qualifying participants at screening. Phenotyping based on pattern of symptoms experienced is possible and allows the study of AR pathophysiology and can be applied in evaluation of efficacy of a novel medication. The AR-CIC aims to continue to improve the model and employ it in phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/s13223-015-0082-0
PMCID: PMC4419495  PMID: 25945101
Allergic rhinitis; Nasal allergen challenge; Allergic rhinitis; Clinical investigator collaborative
8.  Add-on histamine receptor-3 antagonist for allergic rhinitis: a double blind randomized crossover trial using the environmental exposure unit 
Background
Oral antihistamines that target the histamine receptor–1, such as fexofenadine, offer suboptimal relief of allergic rhinitis-associated nasal congestion. Combinations with oral sympathomimetics, such as pseudoephedrine, relieve congestion but produce side effects. Previous animal and human studies with histamine receptor-3 antagonists, such as PF-03654764, demonstrate promise.
Methods
Herein we employ the Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) to conduct the first randomized controlled trial of PF-03654764 in allergic rhinitis. 64 participants were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled 4-period crossover study. Participants were exposed to ragweed pollen for 6 hours post-dose in the EEU. The primary objective was to compare the effect of PF-03654764 + fexofenadine to pseudoephedrine + fexofenadine on the subjective measures of congestion and Total Nasal Symptom Score (TNSS). The objectives of our post-hoc analyses were to compare all treatments to placebo and determine the onset of action (OA). This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01033396).
Results
PF-03654764 + fexofenadine was not superior to pseudoephedrine + fexofenadine. In post-hoc analyses, PF-03654764 + fexofenadine significantly reduced TNSS, relative to placebo, and OA was 60 minutes. Pseudoephedrine + fexofenadine significantly reduced congestion and TNSS, relative to placebo, with OA of 60 and 30 minutes, respectively. Although this study was not powered for a statistical analysis of safety, it was noted that all PF-03654764-treated groups experienced an elevated incidence of adverse events.
Conclusions
PF-03654764 + fexofenadine failed to provide superior relief of allergic rhinitis-associated nasal symptoms upon exposure to ragweed pollen compared to fexofenadine + pseudoephedrine. However, in post-hoc analyses, PF-03654764 + fexofenadine improved TNSS compared to placebo. Side effects in the PF-03654764-treated groups were clinically significant compared to the controls.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-10-33
PMCID: PMC4094756  PMID: 25024716
Allergic rhinitis; Environmental exposure unit; Fexofenadine; PF-03654764; pseudoephedrine; H3 receptor; H1 receptor; Ragweed; Nasal congestion; Decongestant
13.  A four-way, double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled study to determine the efficacy and speed of azelastine nasal spray, versus loratadine, and cetirizine in adult subjects with allergen-induced seasonal allergic rhinitis 
Background
Azelastine has been shown to be effective against seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR). The Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) is a validated model of experimental SAR. The objective of this double-blind, four-way crossover study was to evaluate the onset of action of azelastine nasal spray, versus the oral antihistamines loratadine 10 mg and cetirizine 10 mg in the relief of the symptoms of SAR.
Methods
70 participants, aged 18-65, were randomized to receive azelastine nasal spray, cetirizine, loratadine, or placebo after controlled ragweed pollen exposure in the EEU. Symptoms were evaluated using the total nasal symptom score (TNSS). The primary efficacy parameter was the onset of action as measured by the change from baseline in TNSS.
Results
Azelastine displayed a statistically significant improvement in TNSS compared with placebo at all time points from 15 minutes through 6 hours post dose. Azelastine, cetirizine, and loratadine reduced TNSS compared to placebo with an onset of action of 15 (p < 0.001), 60 (p = 0.015), and 75 (p = 0.034) minutes, respectively. The overall assessment of efficacy was rated as good or very good by 46% of the participants for azelastine, 51% of the participants for cetirizine, and 30% of the participants for loratadine compared to 18% of the participants for placebo.
Conclusions
Azelastine’s onset of action for symptom relief was faster than that of cetirizine and loratadine. The overall participant satisfaction in treatment with azelastine is comparable to cetirizine and statistically superior to loratadine. These results suggest that azelastine may be preferential to oral antihistamines for the rapid relief of SAR symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-9-16
PMCID: PMC3655060  PMID: 23635091
Allergic rhinitis; Azelastine; Environmental exposure unit; Onset of action; Cetirizine; Loratadine
17.  DRESS with delayed onset acute interstitial nephritis and profound refractory eosinophilia secondary to Vancomycin 
Background
Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) is a relatively rare clinical entity; even more so in response to vancomycin.
Methods
Case report.
Results
We present a severe case of vancomycin-induced DRESS syndrome, which on presentation included only skin, hematological and mild liver involvement. The patient further developed severe acute interstitial nephritis, eosinophilic pneumonitis, central nervous system (CNS) involvement and worsening hematological abnormalities despite immediate discontinuation of vancomycin and parenteral corticosteroids. High-dose corticosteroids for a prolonged period were necessary and tapering of steroids a challenge due to rebound-eosinophilia and skin involvement.
Conclusion
Patients with DRESS who are relatively resistant to corticosteroids with delayed onset of certain organ involvement should be treated with a more prolonged corticosteroid tapering schedule. Vancomycin is increasingly being recognized as a culprit agent in this syndrome.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-16
PMCID: PMC3198947  PMID: 21968185
18.  Hodgkin's lymphoma presenting with markedly elevated IgE: a case report 
Background
Markedly elevated IgE as a manifestation of a lymphoproliferative disorder has been only rarely reported.
Case Presentation
We present the case of a 22 year old female referred to the adult Allergy & Clinical Immunology clinic for an extremely elevated IgE level, eventually diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. She had no history of atopy, recurrent infections, eczema or periodontal disease; stool was negative for ova & parasites. Chest X-ray revealed large bilateral anterior mediastinal masses that demonstrated prominent uptake on gallium scan. Mediastinal lymph node biopsy was consistent with Hodgkin's lymphoma, nodular sclerosing subtype, grade I/II.
Conclusion
Although uncommon, markedly elevated IgE may be a manifestation of a malignant process, most notably both Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. This diagnosis should be considered in evaluating an otherwise unexplained elevation of IgE.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-5-12
PMCID: PMC2794847  PMID: 20016775

Results 1-18 (18)