Themes in Allergy: one year old and moving forward


Professor Jean Bousquet
Clinique des Maladies Respiratoires
Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire
34295 Montpellier Cedex 5

One year ago, Allergy introduced ‘Themes in Allergy’ (1). The Editorial Board of the Journal felt that some of the papers concerning the mechanisms, epidemiology, risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, control, or the pharmacoeconomics of allergic diseases should be grouped and published as a ‘Theme’ within the same issue. We therefore announced that the format of Allergy, the Official Organ of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, would be taking the diversity of allergic diseases into account by introducing a specific Theme into some of its issues. These special Themes would include one or two review papers as well as three to five original papers already accepted for publication in the Journal.

One year later, 12 Themes have been published with one to three review articles and around six original papers per Theme. The first issue dealt with the immunologic mechanisms of allergy and we are proud that both Professors Johansson (2–4) and Romagnani (5) published papers in this Theme. Allergen-specific immunotherapy has been renovated with the demonstration that sublingual immunotherapy is a viable alternative to injection immunotherapy. Three issues, 41 papers and two supplements were devoted to immunotherapy, with papers often dealing with sublingual immunotherapy (6–8). The future of immunotherapy was reported in the summary of a workshop held in Bethesda (9). Moreover, one of the supplements is of importance as it proposed EAACI practice parameters on immunotherapy (10). Another Theme was devoted to the links between rhinitis and asthma in the June issue (11). However, rhinitis is not only allergic in nature (12). In 2005, Allergy had already published the EAACI Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis (13). Asthma, the Theme of the May issue, is a priority for the allergist who is at the cornerstone in the treatment of the disease (14). Basophils and mast cells were published in two of the issues (15, 16) and many papers dealt with the diagnosis of allergy using basophil activation and drug allergy (17). The hygiene hypothesis is still a matter of debate (18), particularly in developing countries where helminths are highly prevalent (19). The final issue of the year was devoted to skin allergy and it has been shown that GA2LEN, the EU-funded Global Allergy and Asthma Network, is of critical importance for our specialty (20).

The European Union (EU) is largely involved in the fight against allergy and asthma through a number of programs (21–23). Allergy has tried to highlight the EU effort by publishing the EU forum, and several papers from the major EU grants for our research (24, 25) were also published in 2005 in our Journal.

There is no theme in this first issue of the year as we would like to demonstrate the diversity of the field, but the next issue will be of special interest. The management of asthma was previously based on severity. However, new studies have consistently shown that management based on control is more appropriate. The new GINA guidelines are indeed based on control and the next Theme will be devoted to asthma: from severity to control.

This year, we would like to propose two new Themes that were not covered in 2006. We are advertising for the following papers: Food allergy (deadline for paper submission: 1 May 2007) and atopic dermatitis (deadline for paper submission: 1 June 2007).

We hope that the readers of Allergy are interested in this new format and we would like to thank all those who have contributed to the success of the Themes of Allergy.