Between 2014 and 2018, general scientific objectives of EPAR are:
1. identify populations at risk of allergic and respiratory diseases considering early life
2. determine risk factors for the development and severity of allergy and respiratory through an exposomic approach
3. develop clinical epidemiology of allergic and respiratory diseases .
Objectives 1 and 3 require the identification of new phenotypes, the transition to endotypes covering more directly mechanisms and the study of their interactions.
Objective 2 is obtained through the investigation of environmental exposures and interactions between environmental and epigenetic and genetic factors causing the development of allergic and respiratory diseases, through an exposomic approach in the EU HEALTH project (www.heals-eu.eu). The whole life span approach with special attention to the period of prenatal life and infancy is adopted because of the early origins of allergy and respiratory disease. To this extent, the development of appropriate methodologies of expology and epidemiology / statistics constitutes a crucial step.
By their frequency, potential severity and elevated socio-economic costs, allergic and respiratory diseases which constitute the EPAR research topic have become a relevant public health problem. In 2011, EU has decided to accept childhood asthma as the number one public health priority.
Strengths: They are mainly scientific. Since 2007, work at EPAR generated almost 300 scientific publications. The most important publications include articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, J Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Thorax, Allergy, Eur Respir J, Health Env Perspective. The relevant numbers of scientific publications place EPAR among the well-known experts in the field of allergic and respiratory diseases. Our members were regularly invited to contribute to different seminars or congresses or to give lectures at national and international congresses, universities and other research institutions. In addition, EPAR provided Position Papers and contributed to public events, some of which at the European Parliament. EPAR members chaired several sessions at national and international congresses. 3 PhD Students received scientific awards (1 national and 3 international). 3 members had editorial activities in 15 journals. One member is Associated Editor of 7 journals (1 of which national). The numerous databases already established containing exposure and health data and related biobanks as well as the expertise of team members represent major assets for the realization of the EPAR research program. A great benefit for EPAR will result from the arrival of two new teams, the clinical epidemiology of allergic and respiratory diseases team (Prof. Demoly) and the Primary health care team (Prof. Magnier), as well from the advent of a statistician (Prof. Saint-Pierre). The presence of an expologist (Dr Bertholon) and of an ad hoc laboratory (LGDA) will add a new dimension in EPAR research. Exchanges in the frame of multicentric studies will constitute and additional value. Among them, the project MeDALL which aims at improving the health of European citizens by understanding the causes of allergy epidemic. MeDALL will generate ground breaking knowledge on the causes and mechanisms of allergic diseases. There are more than 43000 children involved in MeDALL cohorts and EPAR takes it as great advantage to work with theses cohorts. Another strength of EPAR is given by the fact that EPAR implements initiatives not only at the research level but also at the education and advocacy levels. Lastly, the presence of young researchers in EPAR provides a strong “atout” of continuity of the various activities even after 2018.
Weakness: An undeniable weakness of the team is represented at this stage by the lack of recruitment of young researchers and of permanent technical personnel (IATOS), which would perpetuate the ongoing studies. It has to be added that personnel that retired were not replaced.
Opportunities: Opportunities constitute potential strengths at the same time. A strong opportunity is generated by multidisciplinarity within EPAR that nowadays covers the following disciplines epidemiology, public health, respiratory medicine, paediatrics, allergology, primary care medicine, expologie, statistics…. This will set a warranty of success in the investigation of allergic and respiratory diseases which are complex diseases. The environment that EPAR has built and consolidated since 2007 provides favourable conditions for the progression of the projects. The EPAR’s projects are secured by the fact that planned studies are part of international projects, mostly European projects.
Recipients of EPAR's activities
First, the world of research at national and international level as well as the medical societies involved in the fighting of allergic and respiratory diseases through various task forces and projects ; successively, the public health authorities (IAM was the Chair of WG on the recommendations against exceedances of PM (http://hcsp.fr/explore.cgi/avisrapportsdomaine?ae=avisrapportsdomaine&clefr=273&menu=09)) and through their actions the public. Lastly, PhD students and postdocs who have the opportunity to participate in the design and conduct research projects within the international scientific community, particularly in the context of European projects (Medall, SINPHONIE, PHASE, GERIE ...). It is expected that EPAR will interact with other components of the Centre Pierre Louis.