Food allergy is a potentially life-threatening disease and a growing public health issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the number of U.S. children with food allergies has increased by 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. Currently one in 13 American children, roughly two in every classroom, has a food allergy.
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a leading advocacy organization working to benefit 15 million American children and adults with food allergies, launched the FARE Clinical Network on June 29 and named The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as one of its 22 centers for excellence.
“We are proud to be selected as a member of FARE’s Clinical Network, and look forward to collaborating in this effort to improve diagnosis and advance treatment for patients with food allergies,” said pediatric allergist Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, chief of CHOP’s Section of Allergy.
The FARE Clinical Network aims to accelerate drug development in the field by conducting clinical trials of new treatments, as well as to establish patient registries. FARE will initially fund the centers of excellence with an investment of more than $2 million per year.
FARE selected the centers for excellence based on their focus on applying new evidence based-knowledge to this important field. Earlier this year, Dr. Spergel and other CHOP researchers identified four new genes associated with the severe food allergy eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Because the genes appear to have roles in other allergic diseases and in inflammation, the findings may point toward potential new treatments for EoE.