13. March 2024

This year’s ADF/ECARF Award was presented at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf on 8 March 2024. The winners of the award received a prize of 5,000 euros for the discovery of an important mechanism associated with meat allergy.

Research findings on food allergy to red meat

For some time now, a new phenomenon has been recognised in allergology: a delayed allergy to red meat, which can develop into an allergic shock. What makes this allergy different is that it is not a protein that triggers the food allergy.

Sensitisation due to frequent tick bites

This particular food allergy is triggered by a sensitisation to so-called carbohydrate chains (alpha-gal), which is mediated by repeated tick bites. What is decisive for the development of the allergy is an immunological messenger substance, the cytokine interleukin (IL-) 4.

This new finding opens up new avenues in therapy. “Drugs are now available that block the function of IL-4,” emphasises Professor Tilo Biedermann, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Dermatology and Allergology at the Technical University of Munich. His working group consisting of M. Hils, N. Hoffard, S. Kaesler, F. Wölbing and himself (Technical University of Munich, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Biederstein, 80802 Munich, Germany) uncovered this important mechanism. For this they were honoured with the ADF/ECARF Award at the 2024 annual conference of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Forschung (ADF).

“This year, we have once again succeeded in honouring groundbreaking research with the ADF/ECARF Award for European Allergy Research,” said Professor Torsten Zuberbier, ECARF-Chairman of the Board . “The researchers have come up with important findings that will further advance research in the field of food allergy. Congratulations to the winners – I can only encourage them to keep up the excellent work.”

The European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF) and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Forschung (ADF) want to motivate further research in the field of allergology. Since 2005, they have been jointly offering the “ADF/ECARF Award”, sponsored by ECARF. The prize is endowed with 5,000 euros and is awarded annually. The award winner is selected by a jury at the ADF Annual Conference.


The ECARF Foundation has been certifying products and services with the ECARF Seal of Quality, the only Europe-wide certificate for allergy-friendly products and services, on the basis of scientific quality criteria since 2006. Furthermore, ECARF specifically supports allergological research at the European level as well as initiatives to improve the medical treatment of allergic diseases. ecarf.org

About ADF

The aim of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Forschung (ADF) is to promote research in the field of dermatology and related fields, in particular interdisciplinary and supraregional cooperation in German-speaking countries. The ADF is particularly committed to the support and advancement of young scientists in dermatological research and awards a number of prizes and scholarships for this purpose. The ADF is affiliated with the German Dermatological Society (DDG). https://www.adf-online.de/