In celebration of #WorldAllergyWeek, and as the NHS celebrates its 70th Birthday #NHS70, we’re sharing the story of Professor John O. Warner OBE MBChB, MD, FRCP, FRCPCH, FMedSci, FERS who has a particular interest in bridging the gap between research and practical application of knowledge.
John has been Professor of Paediatrics at Imperial College, London since 2006; Academic lead for the Early-years’ theme for the National Institute of Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for NW London since 2014; and Hon. Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Cape Town since 2015.
John’s training following qualification was initially in General Paediatrics moving to specialisation in Paediatric Chest Medicine. As the largest clinical need was for improved management of asthma, he developed a research programme focused on inhalant allergy. This, in turn, increased John’s awareness of all aspects of allergic disease with food allergy and anaphylaxis being particularly associated with severe and life-threatening asthma.
His research followed patient need and with funding from the Food Standards Agency John was able to concentrate research and clinical activity on the increasing need for improved understanding of mechanisms and targeted treatment of food allergy. This problem is most common in young children and has its origins in very early life.
Understanding of the immune mechanisms has facilitated trials of prevention by early life exposure rather than avoidance. John’s research team has characterised various aspects of peanut, egg and kiwi fruit allergy. They are now studying those factors in human breast milk which enhance a healthy non-allergic outcome and ways to enhance these benefits.
John says “My main concern, now, is to ensure that the new and efficacious approaches to management of allergic diseases are employed in practice as soon as possible. Hitherto there has been a very long knowledge/practice gap (estimated as well over 10 years). Patients must have access to the best possible treatment as soon as possible and this is being achieved by the development of integrated care pathways.”
His major research interests include foetal and early post-natal life origins of allergic and respiratory diseases, Childhood asthma, Food allergy, Mechanisms of airway inflammation and Quality Improvement in Health Service delivery.