Skip to main content
child using inhaler for asthma outside in a park with his father
pololia -

Farm Effect - Translation to Families

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children – at school age about every 10th child is affected in westernized countries. Likewise, allergic illnesses are very prevalent, around 30-50 % of children are affected. Unfortunately, there is neither cure nor effective prevention and current therapies are often administered over long periods of time - sometimes decades. But various epidemiological studies show a natural model that can help prevent asthma: children who grow up on farms have a significantly lower risk of developing asthma than children who live in the same rural area but not on farms. But how can we translate this finding back into the families?

To benefit children and their families we first could transfer the observations of the “Farm Effect” to different asthma mouse models. The application of stable dust extracts through the nose can effectively prevent experimental allergic asthma in mice. We recently succeeded in identifying specific substances in stable dust extracts that are most likely responsible for the protective effect. The candidates are currently synthesized in order to test them for their protective properties in relation to asthma and allergy diseases. Thereby we want to establish a lead compound for further preclinical, toxicological and clinical testing.

With two visionary projects our team wants to make available for the first time a protective therapy option that protects children from developing asthma. We aim to develop a nasal spray based on the identified substances. They should have comparable or better activity than cowshed dust extracts.

GO-Bio initial:

With the funding of the GO–Bio initial program, the feasibility of this approach will now be investigated. To this end, the recently identified substances must be produced so that they can then be tested for their protective properties in relation to asthma and allergy diseases.


The vision is to move the fields of microbiome research forward towards in depth characterization of microbe-derived metabolites to better understand their associated asthma- and allergy protective properties by advancing both the experimental and the human population-based studies.

In this interdisciplinary project, Erika von Mutius and her colleagues from the Helmholtz Environmental Health Center, Ali Önder Yildirim and Philippe Schmidt-Kopplin, as well as Michael Sattler from the Molecular Targets and Therapeutics Center and Prof. Dr. Sonja Berensmeier from the Technical University Munich will lay the ground for translation into innovative and effective prevention strategies to stop the asthma and allergy epidemic.


Prof. Dr. Erika von Mutius

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c Erika von Mutius

Director and Department Head View profile
Porträt Bettina Rankl

Bettina Rankl

Coordinator Drug Development


Porträt Bettina Rankl

Bettina Rankl

Coordinator Drug Development