Skip to main content

Information updates

Recent ASCIA Updates – Immunodeficiency and Autoimmunity

To coincide with World Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) Week (22-28 April 2024) and the International Day of Immunology (29 April 2024) ASCIA has updated:

Updated ASCIA SCIg Therapy - General Information includes subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg) products that are currently available in Australia and New Zealand and management guides for SCIg infusion site reactions, problems and other reactions.

Updates have been made as part of the ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy to make it easier to:

  • Read and understand, by simplifying language and changing to FAQ formats.
  • Contact patient/carer support organisations by including weblinks at the start of each FAQ.

Continue reading

Recent ASCIA Updates – Anaphylaxis and Allergy

The ASCIA team is in the process of updating all ASCIA website Information for patients and carers as part of the National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project.

ASCIA patient/carer allergy information topic areas recently updated are:

The updates have been made by the ASCIA team as part of the National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project, to make it easier to:

  • Read and understand, by simplifying language and changing to FAQ formats.
  • Contact patient/carer support organisations by including weblinks at the start of each FAQ.

Other updates include:

Continue reading

EOIs from ASCIA Members for Allergy Education and Training Initiatives

ASCIA is facilitating education and training initiatives to upskill health professionals, as part of the National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project.

ASCIA invited Expressions of Interests (EOI) from ASCIA members (that were due by 8 May 2024) for funding of initiatives that improve access and timely delivery of allergy education and training for health professionals.

A total of 18 EOIs have been received and will be reviewed by a selection panel. 

The allergy education/training initiatives should meet the following criteria:

  • Provide standardised, evidence-based and best practice postgraduate allergy education and training for one or more of the following health professions;
    • General Practitioners
    • Paediatricians
    • Other Medical Practitioners (other than clinical immunology/allergy specialists and trainees)
    • Dietitians
    • Nurses
    • Pharmacists
    • Psychologists
  • Improve access to postgraduate allergy education and training for health professionals, including those in regional, rural and remote areas
  • Have a budget of $10,000 up to $100,000 AUD per initiative
  • Be piloted within 12 months (by the end of 2025)
  • Have the potential to be scaled up
  • Have measurable outcomes
  • Involve at least one Full ASCIA member 

All EOIs needed to outline how initiatives can fund education and training of multiple health professionals.

Funding is not available to support education and training of individuals, such as fees for established courses.  

Important Dates

  • Call for EOIs open: 14 March 2024
  • Call for EOIs close: 8 May 2024
  • Funding awarded: July 2024

We thank ASCIA members for responding to this call for EOIs and look forward to announcing the selected initiatives in July 2024.

Kind regards,

A/Professor Theresa Cole
ASCIA President
 
Jill Smith
ASCIA CEO
 

Continue reading

ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy Priorities

Implementation is progressing in 2024 for the ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy for Australia and New Zealand, following an ASCIA PID/IEI resources working party meeting held on 10th May 2024 and an implementation meeting on 28th April 2023. The 2023 meeting was attended by a range of stakeholders including clinicians (clinical immunologists, specialist nurses and allied health), patient/carer organisations (AusPIPs, IDFA and IDFNZ), and researchers.  As a result of this meeting a list of priorities was developed which are outlined below,

Priority 1) Clinical Care Standard which includes care by GPs and other health professionals. (Goals 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

An ASCIA Clinical Care Standard for Inborn Errors of Immunity (IEI) will be developed to assist in benchmarking and advocating for optimal services and treatment. 

ACTION:

  • A new ASCIA IEI Clinical Care Standard has been drafted at the ASCIA PID/IEI resources working party meeting on 10th May 2024. The draft Standard will be be sent for wider review from late-May 2024 onwards.

Priority 2) ASCIA Working Parties will develop genetic testing and newborn screening (NBS) information to facilitate clinical implementation. (Goals 1, 2, 3, 8)

An ASCIA working party will further address issues for better access and funding of genetic testing and the implementation of the clinical aspects for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) newborn screening (NBS). Whilst SCID NBS laboratory testing is now available in all jurisdictions, each region has differences which need to be considered in a consistent approach for SCID NBS and genetic testing.

ACTIONS:

Priority 3) Education Program for Transition from Paediatric to Adult Care and advocacy for resourcing of improved transition services based on the Clinical Care Standard (Goal 4, 6)

It has been recognised that there are many aspects of transitioning from paediatric to adult services that should be improved for complex patients with IEI and their families  Programs addressing education and support for patients, families and service providers and advocacy for funding of appropriate supportive multidisclinary resources utilising the ASCIA Clinical Care Standard will help address this.

ACTION:

  • The new ASCIA IEI Clinical Care Standard will include a Quality Statement about transitioning from paediatric to adult medical services. 

Priority 4) Advocacy, including discussions regarding Chronic Disease Strategy, patient/carer support organisations, health economics, barriers to access and Indigenous Australian/Maori involving clinicians and patients. (Goals 4, 5, 8). Advocacy will be central to many of our goals. The ASCIA Clinical Care Standard will be important, as will be collaborations with patient/carer support organisations and potential utilisation of the Chronic Disease Strategy.

ACTIONS:

Priority 5) Research Initiatives, including an audit of access to testing/care and rejuvenation of ASCIA IEI Registry. (Goal 7)

An audit of access to testing and access to care was recommended, to better understand the inequities identified and the differences between access in public versus private heathcare systems.

Ways to rejuvenate the ASCIA IEI Registry are being considered, to optimise the entry of data, with recognition of the need for project officer support and the need to change from the existing waiver of consent to a formal consent process. An active ASCIA IEI Registry will allow documentation of numbers for advocacy and also allow expansion of research.

ACTIONS:

  • ASCIA will develop a governance structure and draft data fields for a new ASCIA IEI Registry.
  • ASCIA will survey members regarding access to care/testing after the Clinical Care Standard has been established.

Why was the ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy initiated?

The ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy for Australia and New Zealand was established to address the needs of patients and their families affected by immunodeficiency in a targeted collaborative way. The development of the Strategy was built on the experience from the successful implementation of the National Allergy Strategy.

The first ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy meeting was held on Friday 8 March 2019 and was attended by a wide range of stakeholders including clinicians, patient/carer organisations and researchers. Despite the disruptions of the COVID pandemic over the last three years, there has been significant progress in some of these areas, but there are still substantial issues that need to be addressed.

The ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy for Australia and New Zealand document was developed from 2019-2021 and launched in April 2022. The Strategy includes eight goals to address key issues, as listed below. 

ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy Goals

Goal 1: Enable early diagnosis of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) by newborn screening

Goal 2: Enable early diagnosis of other PID/IEI disorders through recognition of early warning signs of PID/IEI disorders, appropriate testing and treatment.

Goal 3: Improve access to expert genetic diagnosis by using genomic and immune testing for patients with suspected or recently diagnosed PID/IEI disorders, or people with a family history of PID/IEI.

Goal 4: Ensure equitable access to specialist and multi-disciplinary care for patients with PID/IEI disorders, including those living in regional, rural and remote areas.

Goal 5: Ensure equitable access to treatments, that are appropriately supported and funded for patients with PID/IEI disorders.

Goal 6: Increase support for PID/IEI education and training for patients, carers and health professionals.

Goal 7: Increase support for multi-disciplinary clinical and laboratory PID/IEI research and collaborations.

Goal 8: Ensure that the priorities of Indigenous Australian and Maori populations are represented in PID/IEI diagnosis, care and research.

For more information about the Strategy visit https://nationalimmunodeficiencystrategy.org.au/

Continue reading

New ASCIA Mast Cell Activation Disorders and Syndrome Position Paper

A new ASCIA Position Paper on the diagnosis and investigation of mast cell activation disorders and syndrome has been developed for health professionals.

Mast cell activation syndrome is a group of disorders with episodic symptoms due to mast cell mediator release. They involve multiple systems and can cause flushing, pruritus, wheeze and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Diagnosis is based on clinical and laboratory assessments, including testing for tryptase. Other laboratory tests are generally not used or available, due to their lack of sensitivity and specificity.

ASCIA Mastocytosis and other Mast Cell Disorders FAQ for patients and carers is also available.

Continue reading

Quicklinks to QR codes on ASCIA patient/carer information webpages

In response to requests from ASCIA members, QR codes have been added to 15 landing pages on the ASCIA website to improve access and reduce the need for printing of ASCIA Information for patients and carers.

New ASCIA Quicklinks A4 documents include QR codes and are available at www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/quick-links

pdfASCIA PC QR Code Quicklinks1.71 M

This project has been completed as part of the National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project.

ASCIA PC QR Code QuicklinksEach of the following webpages include a QR code directly below the instructions "Scan the QR codes below to view ASCIA information on a mobile phone:"

Allergy and anaphylaxis

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and sinusitis

Allergy prevention

Allergy and immunology testing

Allergy treatments

Asthma and allergy

Autoimmunity

Drug allergy

Food allergy

Food - other adverse reactions

Immunisation

Immunodeficiencies

Insect allergy (bites and stings)

Other allergies

Skin 

Continue reading

AIFA 2024 Research Grant Round Open - EOIs due 14 May 2024

The Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australia (AIFA) 2024 grant round is now open and Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are invited from ASCIA members for AIFA research grants. EOIs are due by midnight on 14 May 2024 and the application form is on the AIFA website www.allergyimmunology.org.au/grants 

This year a total of $110,000 will be awarded, comprised of 8 grants that are listed below.

Allergy and Immunology Research
$40,000 AIFA Early Career and New Researcher Grants (4 x $10,000 available)
These grants encourage new research projects which do not yet have major funding. It is important that Early Career and New Researchers are supported to establish track records that will increase their chance of securing future research funding. These include early career scientist researchers, emerging clinician researchers (such as advanced allergy/immunology trainees), and other health professionals (such as dietitians, nurses, pharmacists).

Food Allergy Research Grants
$20,000 AIFA Prof Ann Kupa Food Allergy Grant
$15,000 AIFA DBV Technologies Food Allergy Grant

New AIFA Viatris Grant for Nurses
$20,000 AIFA Viatris Nurse Researcher of the Year
We are delighted to announce this new grant, which will be awarded to a late-stage nurse researcher to facilitate presentation of their completed, or soon to be completed, research at an appropriate international or national conference of their choosing.

Primary Immunodeficiency Research Grant
$15,000 AIFA CSL Behring HAE Clinical Research Grant

AIFA grants awarded in 2024 will be announced in September at the ASCIA 2024 Conference in Adelaide.

Thank you to new and long term supporters of AIFA research grants. Your generous support has contributed to the progress of clinical allergy and immunology research in Australia and New Zealand.

By 2026 AIFA aims to award a cumulative total of $1 million in research grants, selected by experts, for clinically important research into allergy and other immune diseases. Help us achieve this goal by donating at www.allergyimmunology.org.au/donate 

Continue reading

ASCIA Annual Conference and AIFA Research Grant Sponsorship

Planning is now well underway for the ASCIA 2024 Conference which will provide an international standard of CPD for ASCIA members and other health professionals working in allergy and clinical immunology. It will also provide an opportunity for important in-person interactions. The updated ASCIA 2024 Conference Sponsorship Prospectus includes an exhibition floorplan and. sponsorship needs to be confirmed by 30 June 2024, to enable allocation of exhibtiion stand locations by mid July 2024.

A new AIFA Research Grant Sponsorship Prospectus outlines opportunities for supporting research. AIFA is the only charity in Australia and New Zealand that specifically funds allergy and immunology research, and is backed by ASCIA. This means that 100% of donations and sponsorship directly fund AIFA research grants. Opportunities for donors and sponsors include named grants that are listed on the AIFA website and acknowledged at ASCIA Annual Conferences when AIFA grant recipients are announced and research is presented. Sponsorship for 2024 AIFA grants needs to be confirmed by mid March 2024, before the grant round opens.

Continue reading

More Articles …