Department of Immunology and Allergology
Address: Eivenių g. 2, LT-50009 Kaunas
Department of Immunology and Allergology was officially established in 2016. However, studies in the field of allergy and immunology in the University of Kaunas were initiated already in the early beginning of XX century and were related to prof. Vladas Lasas experimental works in anaphylaxis. Establishment of Sector for Clinical Immunology and Allergology in 2002 in Kaunas University Hospital was a significant event, which set up a platform for the growth of specialty, leading to the creation of a separate Department.
The main objectives of the Department are to ensure the development of studies, scientific and clinical activities in the field of immunology and allergology and actively participate in the implementation of the University's mission of developing a healthy and educated society.
The Department of Immunology and Allergology is responsible for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in a number of programmes at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUHS). The staff of the Department consists of 6 employees: 1 professor, 1 associate professor, 2 lecturers, 2 assistants.
Undergraduate studies are the following:
- ‘‘Congenital and acquired disorders of immune response‘‘ (module of Chest Diseases, Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Hematologyand Oncology) for 4th year students of Medicine;
- ‘‘Basics of Immunology‘‘ for 2nd year students of Medical and Veterinary Genetics;
- ‘‘Basics of Laboratory Immunology’’ and ,,Basics of Clinical Immunology’’ (module Laboratory Hematology and Basics of Immunology) for 3rd year students of Medical and Veterinary Biochemistry.
An Allergology and Clinical Immunology residency programme (duration 4 yrs). The objectives of this program are to acquire knowledge and build skills, enabling to study patients with
acute and chronic diseases of the internal organs and immune system and allergic diseases, to formulate and realize an individual patient's treatment plan and to provide urgent assistance during critical conditions. Upon completion of this study program, competences acquired corresponding to the qualification norm of the allergologist and clinical immunologist specialty are acquired.
Doctoral (PhD) studies
- Program in Allergology for Doctoral studies. The aim of this program is to systematize and deepen knowledge about the most common form of immune response disorder - increased immune sensitivity (allergy), its mechanisms, their significance for the development, diagnosis, treatment and prophylaxis of allergic diseases, presenting allergological science achievements and perspectives, their application for diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
- Clinical Immunology program for Doctoral studies. The aim of the program is to systematize and deepen knowledge about normal and impaired immune response, immune pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment aspects of diseases.
Department of Immunology and Allergology consists of Outpatient clinic, Day care unit and Laboratory of Immunology. Specialists consult patients of all age groups who are expected to have immune pathology related to allergy or other diseases.
Every year new diagnostic and treatment approaches of immune response in chronic or autoimmune diseases, transplantation, allergen challenge and immunotherapy are introduced.
The most recent evidence-based methodologies:
- B. Šitkauskienė, A. Blažienė. Recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of the primary immunodeficiency, 2016.
- B. Šitkauskienė, L. Tamašauskienė. What is primary immunodeficiency and how to live with it, 2016.
- B. Šitkauskienė, A. Blažienė, M. Bylaitė – Bučinskienė, A. Chomičienė, J.Staikūnienė, S. Valiukevičienė. Recommendations for the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of urticaria, 2015.
Priority of the Department – multidisciplinary projects investigating innovative concepts and critical gaps in the pathogenesis of chronic diseases in order to increase the knowledge of immune mechanisms of these diseases. Ongoing research is focused on the translational aspects with integration of data from immunological evaluation of allergen-induced airway inflammation with clinical data and on the identification of biomarkers and molecular targets in order to pave the way for better diagnostics and improved individualized treatment of related diseases. A more detailed understanding of relationship between structural elements of immune system and their role in the overall function in inflammation is important for the development of new therapeutic approaches.
Specialists working in the Department have written many articles published in journals with high impact factor, e.g. American Journal of Respiratory Cellular and Molecular Biology, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, The New England Jornal of Medicine, Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, etc.
Research results are presented at the annual congresses of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), European Respiratory Society (ERS) Clinical Allergology and Immunology Assembly, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), and World Allergy Organization (WAO).
Applied clinical trials are performed based on the good clinical practice rules. Most resent clinical studies are the following:
- Multicentre, double-coded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, imposed to measure AllerT, similar to overlapping peptides, received from Bet v 1 combination, two doses efficiency and tolerance for adults with allergic rhinitis/rhinoconjunctivitis caused by birch pollens.
- Multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to measure an efficiency and safety of specific immunotherapy aluminum hydroxide adsorbed allergic drug for house dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) to patients with allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis.
- Involving patients, with primary immunodeficiency diseases and treated in the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) Kauno klinikos Primary immunodeficiency center, to European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID) registry.
Since 2005 LUHS is the Center of cooperation of the European Union's 6th General Program project GA2LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma European Network).
In 2012 the Centre of Primary Immunodeficiency was established and is working within the Department. This Centre belongs to the international Jeffrey Modell network, J Project (since 2016), and is involved in the Orphanet (www.orpha.net) database.
Cooperation with European research institutes and active participation in the activities of international organizations have allowed to improve knowledge in the field of Allergology and Immunology, also to develop the newest diagnostic and therapeutic methods for allergic and immune diseases, modernize and develop scientific work, create preconditions for the success in this matter.