• Ferguson, Alexander C.

    Investigator Emeritus, BC Children's Hospital
    Professor Emeritus, Division of Allergy, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
    Degrees / Designations
    Primary Area of Research
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    Lab Phone
    Mailing Address
    BC Children's Hospital
    Room 1C23
    4480 Oak Street
    Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4
    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas
    • Pathogenesis of asthma and allergy 
    • Primary prevention
    • Drug therapy/clinical trials

    Asthma and allergy involves interaction of the individual person with their environment and involves both genetic and environmental factors. Modifying the environment of those who are at risk of developing allergy and asthma may be important in prevention or modifying the severity of disease. Understanding the underlying changes in the tissues which lead to symptoms and assessing the beneficial, and possible adverse, effects of therapy will lead to optimal treatment and the best outcome for children affected.

    Current Projects
    • A multifaceted intervention study starting before birth in 500 children who are at high risk of developing asthma and allergy has been in progress since 1995, with the most recent assessment (age 7 years) currently underway. The study assesses the effect on asthma and allergy symptoms and development of specific allergies and bronchial hyperresponsiveness, growth and development and genetic markers.Early findings are of a 35% reduction in wheezing illness at age 2 to 4 years and an increased proportion of children with specific susceptibility genes.

    • Randomized, controlled studies comparing the efficacy and adverse effects of different inhaled corticosteroids for asthma. Recent findings are of a progressive decrease in growth velocity in school aged children over a 12-month treatment period with one commonly used medication compared to another.

    • Development of a novel method for assessing levels of nitric oxide in nasal air which can be used as a non-invasive test for nasal allergy and inflammation.

    • Assessment of the prevalence of asthma and allergy in Vancouver school children. Three thousand children in Grade 8 were screened as part of the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (Phase 3).

    Selected Publications

    Wang HY, Wong GW, Chen YZ, Ferguson AC, Greene JM, Ma Y, Zhong NS, Lai CK, Sears MR.: Prevalence of asthma among Chinese adolescents living in Canada and in China. CMAJ. 2008 Nov 18;179(11):1133-42.

    Chan-Yeung M, Hegele RG, Dimich-Ward H, Ferguson A, Schulzer M, Chan H, Watson W, Becker A.: Early environmental determinants of asthma risk in a high-risk birth cohort. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2008 Sep;19(6):482-9.

    He J-Q, Chan-Yeung M, Becker AB, Dimich-Ward.H, Ferguson AC, et al. Genetic variants of the IL13 and IL4 genes and atopic diseases in at risk children. Genes Immunity 2003; 4: 385-9.

    Chan-Yeung M, Ferguson AC, Dimich- Ward H, Watson W, et al. Effectiveness of and compliance with intervention measures in reducing allergen levels in a primary prevention of asthma study. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2002; 88: 52-8.

    Tarlo S, Broder I, Corey P, Chan-Yeung MW, Ferguson AC, et al.The role of symptomatic colds in asthma exacerbations: Influence of outdoor allergens and air pollutants. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001; 108: 52-8.

    Ferguson AC. Diagnosis of asthma in children, in, Fitzgerald JM, Ernst P, O'Byrne P, Boulet L_P, eds, Evidence Based Asthma Management, Hamilton, Ont, BC Decker Inc, 2001 (12 pages).

    Hegele RG, Ahmad HY,Becker AB, Dimich-Ward H, Ferguson AC, et al. The association between respiratory viruses and symptoms in 2 week old infants at high risk of asthma and allergy. J Pediatr 2001; 138: 831-7.

    Ferguson AC, Speir S, Manjra A, Versteegh FHA, Mark S, Zhang P. Efficacy and safety of high dose inhaled steroids in children with asthma: A comparison of fluticasone propionate with budesonide. J Pediatr 1999; 34: 422-7.

    Honours & Awards

    Best Doctors in Canada - 1998

    Charles T. Fried Lectureship, University of Alberta - 1991

    Ross Award, Canadian Paediatric Society - 1974

    Research Group Members

    R. Vaughan, BPharm, RT- Research assistant

    R. Rousseau, BSc - Research assistant

    V. Dijak , MD - Research assistant