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Mast Cell Activation Test in Allergic Disease

Study Purpose

Activation of mast cells in the immune system is known to cause allergic reactions sometimes with severe systemic symptoms. The investigators have recently developed a blood-based mast cell activation diagnostic test in which levels of functional activation in-vitro in primary cultured mast cells generated from the peripheral blood of single individuals can be assessed. It is the hypothesis that the test can be used to predict the potential state of in-vivo mast cell activation in any individual based on the functional activation profiles exhibited by their cultured mast cells. The investigators now wish to translate their in-vitro findings in a pilot study to disease groups where mast cell activation is expected to be high. These include highly allergic individuals; those with chronic idiopathic urticaria; those with mastocytosis; and those with the mast cell activation syndrome. Furthermore, they will use the functional genomics approach to identify gene expression biomarkers that are correlated with such diseases. The results will be compared with data that have been collected from a cohort of healthy control blood donors.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

Any patients with the above diagnoses
  • -

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Children < 18 years old; those who are unwilling or unable to donate blood; pregnant mothers.

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Tak H Lee
Principal Investigator Affiliation Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Recruiting
Countries Hong Kong

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Asthma, Mastocytosis, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Food Allergy, Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, Anaphylaxis, Eczema
Additional Details

The objective of this study is to assess whether patients with severe allergic diseases exhibit high levels of mast cell activation as determined by the mast cell activation diagnostic test the investigators have developed. They anticipate that patients with history of severe allergic reactions will show up as high responders in the blood-based mast cell activation diagnostic test. Moreover, using microarray analysis as the approach for gene expression studies, they anticipate further that genomics biomarkers that are correlated with the high functional activation of the in-vitro mast cells derived from these patients can be readily identified. About 100 ml of peripheral venous blood from individual patients will be drawn into heparinized syringes and collected in a blood-collecting bag/tube containing silica. The bag/tube will be promptly processed for the generation of primary human mast cell cultures using the protocol that has previously been developed [Inflammation Research 66: 25 (2017). After culturing for 9 weeks, the resulting human mast cells will be analyzed for both their functional activity in terms of histamine release in response to the activation of high-affinity IgE receptors in these cells and their gene expression profiles using microarray analysis. The in-vitro functional and genomics data will be correlated with specific diagnoses and measurements of blood prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), PGD2 metabolites, tryptase and histamine levels in blood. For mediator assays, plasma from each subject will be collected after the cluster of differentiation 34 positive (CD34+) isolation step and the samples will be aliquoted and frozen at -80 degrees centigrade for subsequent analysis.

Arms & Interventions


: urticaria

Patients with this condition

: asthma

Patients with this condition

: eczema

Patients with this condition

: food allergy

Patients with this condition

: anaphylaxis

Patients with this condition

: mastocytosis

Patients with this condition

: mast cell activating syndrome

Patients with this condition


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International Sites

Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, Hong Kong, Hong Kong




Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital

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