Christine Caron winner of the Dr. Frederick Winnet Luney Graduate Research Award


Christine Caron, 1st Year MSc Student, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, supervised by Dr. Michael Rieder

My current research project involves elucidating the pathophysiology of drug hypersensitivity using the peripheral blood from individuals hypersensitive to various drugs. Drug hypersensitivities are adverse drug reactions that are immune mediated, may not be related to known drug pharmacology, have delayed onset of signs and symptoms, and are not dose-dependent. As a result, diagnosis can be complicated. Commonly prescribed drugs such as antibiotics, NSAIDs, and anticonvulsant medications can have severe or potentially fatal consequences, mostly commonly affecting the skin. Our goal is to examine the differences in phenotype of T cells in patients hypersensitive to different drugs with different clinical symptoms in comparison to healthy controls to contribute to our knowledge of the pathophysiology of these adverse drug reactions. We are using flow cytometry to assess cell surface markers of activated hypersensitive patient T cells, as well as ELISpot to assess cytokine secretions upon T cell stimulation by the drug allergen. A thorough understanding of the pathophysiology of these drug reactions can lead to better in vitro diagnostic procedures, which are safer than gold-standard in vivo methods, and could help with the prevention of these reactions.