The idea of creating the CAAM in July 2013 and his birth in October the same year followed the story of the Partners and the Founders melting their cumulative experience of about 55 man / years.
Indeed, if the history of allergology is now more than one hundred years long, the history of molecular allergology has its beginnings in the nineties, when the new biochemistry techniques and the molecular biology allowed investigating the world of allergenic molecules in easier and faster ways.
In few years a growing number of International research centers began a common race toward the identification and characterization of the natural molecules causing allergic diseases, sensitizing the human organism and inducing specific IgE, the antibodies of allergy.
Dr. Adriano Mari, one of the Founding Members of the CAAM, during a long collaboration with the Laboratory of Immunology at the Italian National Institute of Health, began his career in molecular allergology, first surveying the quality of allergen extracts and immediately after collaborating as clinical allergist in the mid-nineties, the identification of the first pan-allergen discovered in Italy: a calcium-binding protein (later named “Jun 4”) was isolated from the pollen of the Mediterranean juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus). At the same time, through collaborations with international research centers, he acquired other allergenic molecules, first defining their use as markers of sensitization, publishing the first studies on the different clinical impact of each of the allergenic molecules under study.
The exponential growth in the number of allergenic molecules globally identified induced Dr. Mari to start the organic collection of all literature sources documenting the identification, characterization and clinical use of allergenic molecules, from the beginning of the allergy history of the last hundred years of the last millennium until the present. The emergence of Internet made this operation easier by increasing access to bibliographic databases and subsequently to scientific papers. It was so configured the need to organize the knowledge in databases for easy access to structured information. Internet became the mean to achieve the goal in a modern way. Starting in the year 2000 the Allergome database was created and developed becoming accessible via Internet (www.allergome.org) on February 1, 2003. Allergome immediately became the platform for the International scientific community and, to date, is the only global resource materially documenting all sources and allergenic molecules, updated in real time by a strong team of professionals. Allergome has received more than 300 citations in international scientific literature to date.
In year 2002, Dr. Mari entered as the sole clinical Italian partner in the EU project "CREATE" aimed at creating international standards based on allergenic molecules. This definitely put him as a potential partner of the leading European research centers and opened the possibility of participation in new international collaborative projects such as the current European Union project "FAST" for immunotherapy.
Although the interest in the work of the systematic Allergome project was great, that for the clinical application of the knowledge in Molecular Allergology was even greater. Dr. Mari performed the first studies on clinical Molecular Allergology in Italy supporting them by either personal resources or starting collaborations with the most prestigious International research centers. Based on these scientific studies it is clear that allergy has always been conceived cannot be the same longer. Dr. Mari presents these new concepts in many international scientific meetings beginning at the end of the nineties, creating the first training opportunities in Italy with courses on Molecular Allergology for medical specialists in 2002 in Turin, in 2004 in Portofino, and in 2005 in Florence. In year 2000 he gave his first seminar at the University of Vienna, Austria, considered the cradle of modern Molecular Allergology.
The progressive increase in the number of allergenic molecules needed for a satisfactory allergy diagnosis makes evident the inadequacy of the tools traditionally used in diagnostic. Thus it is clear the need to base it on technologically innovative research tools. In 2003, Dr. Mari enters for the first time in contact with the Austrian inventors of the first microarray dedicated to allergy diagnostics. Although sensing the potential innovative tool created by them several years before, they were not able to turn it into a test to be used in daily practice. Thus, it began a long process of translational research and development, which brought the proteomic microarray for specific IgE, called ISAC, from 29 in 2004 to 74 prepared allergenic molecules in 2005, and then at the first product used in routine allergy diagnostics in 2006: ISAC 76.
All the above happened in Rome, after the creation of the first Centre of Molecular Allergology at IDI-IRCCS. The name of the center was created with the organization by Dr. Mari of the first International Symposium on Molecular Allergology (ISMA, Rome 2006). This was also the first international event of its kind and, although organized with a limited budget, attracted 200 participants and experts from all over the world, providing training opportunity even to specialists from developing countries. Conceived and organized in an original way attracted the attention of specialists in allergy that, despite their coming from "classic" allergology, felt the need to innovate and adapt to the new knowledge in allergy. Among them there were the other CAAM Associate Founders, Dr. Bernardi, Dr. Ferrara, Dr. Zennaro and Dr. Alessandri, who joined the new Center for Molecular Allergology, beginning with Dr. Mari that new path of interpretation of the novelties in allergy, combining all their clinical and research experiences in a unique and fruitful inseparable combination, giving their personal individual contribution, integrating each other with that of the other Members. The Center for Molecular Allergology where CAAM Associates Founders operated let the initial version of ISAC “grow up” until having 103 allergenic molecules. The interest around this new tool for allergy diagnostics was so high that brought the leading international company in allergy diagnostics to acquire and develop it steadily to its present ISAC 112 version.
The activities done by the five CAAM Associate Founders have done, together with other clinicians, with a very active biologists and biochemists in the routine and research laboratory, and the critical complementary activity of experts in bioinformatics and biostatistics, brought the first Centre of Molecular Allergology to become a model to be adopted and to be one of the International reference centers. More than 100 scientific publications have been produced to date by the CAAM professionals, in addition to organizing, first in Rome (2007), then in Salzburg (Austria, 2008), and Munich (Germany, 2010), the second, third and fourth annual ISMA, which continues to play the role as the meeting of international experts under the auspices of the prestigious European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the largest international organization of professionals in the allergy field. In 2013 ISMA was held in Vienna (Austria) and, for the story of the meeting, Dr. Mari was awarded the role of Honorary Chair.
It is from this starting point that the CAAM Associate Founders continue today, even in a more originally way than in the past, the pioneering and real history of modern allergology. The CAAM innovative networking system of specialist health care, combined with the pyramid-shaped structure based on the growing complexity of allergic diseases, and the need to adequately address all the problems of the allergic patient from 0 to 104 years, make the CAAM once again the innovation leader in the field of allergy. The use of the three technologies fully integrates the CAAM activities, applied by the Associate Founders, expanding their areas of greatest interest. The combined use of biotech microtech & ICT is a unique feature of CAAM and still not available in any other national or international clinical center.
In 2016, thanks to the neverending and fruitful collaborations with its partners, in the CAAM research and development laboratory the FABER test is born and with it a new concept for allergy screening test.
FABER allergy test represents an innovative step ahead in the use of the new nanotechnologies, in the combined use of allergenic molecules and supervised allergenic extracts, and in the use of information technology for the result understanding, interpretation, and communication using the innovative and exclusive Allergome/InterAll CDRS module.
The CAAM unique purpose, summarized in the Globall eptalogue, is the constant attention to the allergic patients’ needs, trying to give them the best possible quality of life using the most modern and cutting-edge knowledge.