The Royal Melbourne Hospital congratulates Immunology Registrar Dr Celine Jin on receiving the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) Primary Immunodeficiencies Clinical Research Grant of $15,000.

Dr Celine Jin
Immunology Registrar Dr Celine Jin

Announced today, Celine was one of five grant recipients considered by AIFA's grant selection panel of immunologists as outstanding and significant in the field of allergy and immunology research.

Celine will lead a multi-centre trial evaluating typhoid vaccine responses in patients with specific antibody deficiency.

Most commonly referred to as SAD, patients with specific antibody deficiency have impaired immune function and suffer from recurrent infections. SAD is usually diagnosed based on studying responses to vaccines, particularly using the pneumonia vaccines. Unfortunately, the pneumonia vaccine can’t be administered to people treated with immunoglobulin replacement, which is the main form of treatment for patients with suspected SAD. This means often patients have to stop immunoglobulin treatment to get vaccinated and wait for a diagnosis, leading to severe reactions in some people, requiring hospitalisation.

Celine's trial, an Australian first, will give the typhoid vaccine to patients with SAD who are on immunoglobulin replacement instead, evaluating whether this is a safer option for these patients. Previous studies have shown that the typhoid vaccine (being a Vi-polysaccharide vaccine) is a safer alternative to patients receiving immunoglobulin products than the pneumonia vaccine (which is a polysaccharide vaccine) as the immunoglobulin will not interfere with the Vi-polysaccharide vaccine. This means patients with suspected SAD can continue taking their immunoglobulin therapy and reduce their chance of hospitalisation while being tested. After vaccination, patients will be taken off immunoglobulin treatment and closely monitored to study their body’s reaction to the vaccine and efficacy of the immune response. After 12 months, Celine and the team will see how many patients were restarted on immunoglobulin treatment.

Celine hopes to use the results from this study to develop tools to predict which patients with SAD are able to successfully stop immunoglobulin replacement and which require long-term treatment. This could be used to rationalise the use of immunoglobulin products and to improve clinical outcomes in patients with SAD.

The AIFA Primary Immunodeficiencies Clinical Research Grant of $15,000 was supported by CSL Behring.

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