Lay summary
The aetiology of allergic asthma is multi-factorial and triggered by a skewed immune response to innocuous airborne allergens such as dust mite allergen and pollen. Despite intense research, rates of allergy and allergy-induced asthma continue to rise in most industrialised nations and also in emerging countries. Nanoparticles (NP) synthesised by nanotechnology may have many different shapes and chemical compositions, therefore their properties can be specifically designed for clinical diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Recent studies have shown that NP can stimulate or suppress various immune response pathways; however the effects of NP on the immune system in relation to the particle properties (size, surface modification, solubility and shape) are unknown to date.In order to harness the unique properties of NP for novel clinical applications in the treatment of allergic respiratory disease, we propose to develop and utilise specifically designed NP to investigate immune-modulatory and anti-inflammatory effects in the lung with various experimental approaches: (I) In vitro systems of the human lung to evaluate the trafficking of NP by macrophages (innate immune system) and dendritic cells (adaptive immune system), as well as their potentially associated immune-modulatory effects and nano-immunotoxicity.(II) In vivo assays, i.e. allergic respiratory disease models, to evaluate the immune-modulatory potential of NP and adverse nano-immunotoxic effects.The aim of the proposed project is to specifically evaluate designed NP as pulmonary anti-allergic nanovaccines for the treatment of allergic asthma by utilising established methods to investigate immune-modulatory effects and study possible associated health risks such as nano-immunotoxicity.