Christine McCusker, MD, M.Sc.
allergy • developmental immunology • asthma • immunomodulation
My research focuses on the regulation of immunity from newborns to adult. I am testing the hypothesis that antigen stimuli early in life shape both developing and subsequent immune responses. I am defining key mechanisms responsible for directing the types of immune responses generated with a view to treating and preventing allergic disease. We have shown that early appropriate stimulation of the immune system results in prevention of allergic diseases in the airways and we are now studying this approach in the GI tract with a view to prevention and management of food allergies. Immunodeficiency: I have developed a cross-Canada registry for patients with immune deficiency and we have used this database to progress our understanding of why immunity fails in some patients and to develop standards for diagnosis and management of these patients in Canada.
Michael H, Li Y, Wang Y, Xue D, Shan J, Mazer BD, McCusker CT. TGF-β-mediated airway tolerance to allergens induced by peptide-based immunomodulatory mucosal vaccination. Mucosal Immunol. 2015 Nov;8(6):1248-61. doi: 10.1038/mi.2015.15. Epub 2015 Mar 18. PMID: 25783968.
Wang Y, Li Y, Shan J, Fixman E, McCusker C. Effective treatment of experimental ragweed-induced asthma with STAT-6-IP, a topically delivered cell-penetrating peptide. Clin Exp Allergy. 2011 Nov;41(11):1622-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2011.03853.x. Epub 2011 Sep 20. PMID: 22093011.
McCusker CT, Wang Y, Shan J, Kinyanjui MW, Villeneuve A, Michael H, Fixman ED. Inhibition of experimental allergic airways disease by local application of a cell-penetrating dominant-negative STAT-6 peptide. J Immunol. 2007 Aug 15;179(4):2556-64. PMID: 17675518.
McKelvie B, Top K, McCusker C, Letenyi D, Issekutz TB, Issekutz AC. Fatal pneumococcal meningitis in a 7-year-old girl with interleukin-1 receptor activated kinase deficiency (IRAK-4) despite prophylactic antibiotic and IgG responses to Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccines. J Clin Immunol. 2014 Apr;34(3):267-71. doi: 10.1007/s10875-014-9996-4. Epub 2014 Mar 5. PMID: 24596024.
Dhuban KB, d'Hennezel E, Ben-Shoshan M, McCusker C, Clarke A, Fiset P, Mazer B, Piccirillo CA. Altered T helper 17 responses in children with food allergy. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2013;162(4):318-22. doi: 10.1159/000354028. Epub 2013 Oct 25. PMID: 24193199.