WHO Collaborating Centre for Immunotoxicology and Allergic Hypersensitivity is concerned with adverse effects of chemicals on the immune system and aims to improve risk assessment methodologies in this field. The Collaborating Centre was instated within the International Programme on Chemical Safety of WHO, and is member of the WHO/IPCS Risk Assessment Network.
WHO Collaborating Centre for Immunotoxicology and Allergic Hypersensitivity has had its focus on principles and methods of assessing immunotoxicity associated with exposure to chemicals. It has been instrumental in developing a harmonised approach to risk assessment in this field.
Currently, the Centre is focusing on adverse immune effects of nanoparticles. The research on harmful effects of nanoparticles has resulted in a lot of information, but has as yet not delivered tools that are useful for regulation and policy makers. The studies have been too fragmented, which is not surprising given the breadth of the field.
Because the immune system is one of the most important targets of nanoparticles, RIVM, host of WHO Collaborating Centre of Immunotoxicology and Allergic Hypersensitivity, has identified immunotoxicity of nanoparticles as an important priority. Effects may vary from immunosuppression by a deficient functioning of the immune system, leading to a decreased resistance to infections and tumors, and a disturbed functioning of the immune system, resulting in promotion of allergy and autoimmunity. For all conditions, indications have been observed.
WHO Collaborating Centre of Immunotoxicology and Allergic Hypersensitivity is coordinated by Janine Ezendam, senior scientific advisor at RIVM Centre for Health Protection.