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December 27, 2005

Food Allergy Research Consortium Focuses on Peanut Allergy

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) estimates 4 percent of Americans have potentially life-threatening food allergies. Researchers in a new Food Allergy Research Consortium are developing therapies to treat and prevent peanut allergy.

The consortium, led by Hugh Sampson, M.D., at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, will receive approximately $17 million over five years from NIAID. In addition, another grant will fund a statistical center to support the consortium – finally, there will be some better data to study. The consortium will conduct basic, clinical and epidemiological studies, and develop educational programs aimed at parents, children and healthcare providers.

The consortium’s first project will be a clinical study to evaluate a potential peanut allergy therapy. This potential therapy is expected to work in much the same fashion as allergy shots in which allergic individuals are given increasing doses of an allergen. The shots stimulate an immune response that protects against future allergic reactions. The existing approach, however, cannot be used in people with peanut allergies due to the risk of life-threatening reactions. To overcome this barrier, Dr. Sampson and Wesley Burks, M.D., of Duke University, Durham, NC, developed modified versions of peanut allergens that have been shown to be safe and effective in animal models.

The consortium will evaluate these modified allergens in human clinical trials led by Robert Wood, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. The clinical and observational studies will take place at five clinical sites.

For information about participating in the Food Allergy Research Consortium’s clinical and observational studies, please call the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Pediatric Allergy Division, at (212) 241-5548. For more information on NIAID visit their web site.

Posted by David at December 27, 2005 8:03 AM