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October 17, 2006

Peanut Extract for Use in Duke University Study

Greer Provides Extract for Duke University Study Evaluating Sublingual-Oral Immunotherapy for Peanut Allergies

LENOIR, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Greer, a leading developer and provider of allergy immunotherapy products and source materials, is providing peanut extract to Duke University Medical Center for their sublingual-oral immunotherapy study. The study is designed to evaluate whether sublingual-oral immunotherapy with an extract from raw peanut source materials is a safe and effective treatment for children and adults with peanut allergies. Wesley Burks (http://www.dukemednews.org/experts/detail.php?id=352), M.D., chief of the division of pediatric allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center, is the principle investigator for the study which is being funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“Greer was able to provide the peanut extract we needed for the two-year duration of the Duke study,” says Dr. Burks. “I have worked with Greer in the past on research initiatives and once again the company was very helpful in supplying the materials we needed to launch the study.”

Nearly three million Americans are allergic to peanuts and brief or accidental contact with peanuts kills hundreds of people each year. The goal of the Duke study is to determine whether exposing participants to peanuts, by giving them small drops of peanut extract under the tongue, will make them less sensitive to the allergen.

“This is an exciting milestone and marks a major step in the study of peanut allergies,” says Dr. Robert Esch, Greer executive Vice President of Research & Development. “Dr. Burks’ research will address the need for well-controlled, long-term trials for specific oral tolerance induction in food allergy. His work represents a promising approach for treating food allergies and improving the quality of life of peanut-allergic patients.”


Posted by David at 11:54 AM

October 16, 2006

Trust Your Instincts

Instinct seems to be what drives our decisions these days when it comes to managing our children's food allergies. If we are presented with a social opportunity, we can pretty quickly gauge the difficulty of providing a safe situation for our daughters. If we are out for dinner and our requests are met with hesitation and the manager or chef isn't available, we simply won't take the risk, we'll walk.

Why is this? Well, simply stated, 9 years experience of keeping our girls safe has honed our intuition when it comes to managing child food allergies. And by safe we don't mean sheltered.

Our kids travel on planes across country on an annual basis. We camp with a large group (with shared meals) 6-8 times per year. School field trips are part of the routine (yes, they attend public schools). We go to sporting events (the Globe Trotters are still entertaining) and the girls play on soccer teams.

I don't list these things to brag (although I'm always glad to talk about my kids), I list them for those newly diagnosed families that are feeling frightened about what the future holds for their kids. You can manage this thing and your kids will learn along the way to how to keep themselves safe. And special occassion and events will call for a little extra attention but won't make your child feel excluded - if you just trust your instincts.

Posted by David at 2:17 PM

October 11, 2006

Frustration with Food Allergy Negative Press

Every once in awhile, I will read an article that blasts the food allergy community for being overprotective and sounding the alarm. It is true that child food allergies do not kill many people worldwide and rarely cause death. However, the real affect of child food allergies is the impact on a child and parent's quality of life.

Food allergies impact the allergic child as well as her family. The impact is not just social, but emotional and financial. Despite the far reaching effect, food allergies are still given a low priority because the number of deaths as a result of a reaction.

We can break this mind-set and promote a better understanding of child food allergies through clear communication. Using the parenting resources available, such as this site, can give parents the tools to calmly, clearly communicate and educate those who are involved in our children's lives.

I, for one, would like to see more articles about parents who are taking a practical approach to managing their child's food allergies and empowering their child to live life to its fullest.

Posted by David at 1:47 PM

October 5, 2006

Wall Street Journal Article on Peanut Allergy Research

Taming peanut allergy takes researchers down uncertain road

The peanut industry is helping fund the quest for a "nut-free" peanut, in an effort to diminish the risks for people with peanut allergies.

In a world of wheat-free cookies and dairy-free ice cream, the peanut industry is helping fund the quest for a "nut-free" peanut.

Peanuts aren't nuts at all, of course, but legumes, or seeds, as are beans and lentils. An estimated 1.5 million Americans, including some 600,000 children, experience allergic reactions to peanuts, ranging from hives to nausea to sometimes-fatal anaphylactic shock. With most of the annual 150 food-allergy deaths blamed on peanuts, many schools have created peanut-free zones or gone totally "peanut free."

The number of children with peanut allergies has skyrocketed, doubling from 1997 to 2002, according to a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. And it's a mystery why peanut allergies are causing more problems. One explanation is that physicians are more adept at detecting them. Another is that the modern environment may be, in a sense, too clean: If the human immune system were exposed to more allergens, a peanut might not send it into overdrive.

An approved asthma drug, Xolair, may be useful in treating peanut and other food allergies; injected into patients, it would reduce certain antibodies that are thought to cause anaphylactic food allergy. Last year, though, clinical trials came to a halt after two children, who had been given peanut protein in a screening to gauge the severity of their allergy, experienced anaphylactic reactions. The drug's makers -- Genentech, Novartis and Tanox -- are working with the Food and Drug Administration to design a new trial, Genentech says.

Determined scientists, in some cases with peanut-industry funding, are trying to develop other therapies, or a vaccine, to prevent or reduce the severity of peanut reactions. A nut-free peanut would be genetically altered so that it is less likely to set off an immune response. Peanut farmers and food processors have given $5.6 million over the past decade to eight scientists, mainly for peanut-allergy work, says Howard Valentine, of the American Peanut Council.

Two researchers -- Wesley Burks, chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center, and Hugh Sampson, his counterpart at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine -- are trying to create a vaccine. They have slightly modified the three peanut proteins responsible for most reactions so they don't trigger such strong reactions from human mast cells. By administering the modified proteins to subjects in slowly increasing doses, they hope to condition their immune systems to tolerate more. They have tested the therapy on mice and plan to start on humans in a year or so.

Another experimental therapy aims to reduce the severity of reactions. Dr. Burks's team administers powdered or liquid peanut proteins to patients in incrementally increasing doses, starting with 0.001 peanut the first day, to one whole peanut six months later. They hope one day to develop a drug or a physician-administered therapy. In a trial completed on eight patients, Dr. Burks says the subjects tolerated 13 peanuts before experiencing a reaction -- enough, in theory, to save an allergic child's life in case of accidental ingestion.

Peanut interests have helped to fund the work of Peggy Ozias-Akins, a horticulture professor at the University of Georgia, Tifton. She wants to develop a plant whose peanuts are free of the three major protein allergens.


Posted by David at 10:56 AM

October 4, 2006

The Treats are the Scariest Part of Halloween

'Treats' Scariest Part of All for Children With Food Allergies on Halloween

Thursday September 28, 5:06 am ET

Nationwide Coin Collection Campaign Raises Funds for Food Allergy Research

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Ghosts and goblins are not as scary to the more than 3 million American children with food allergies as a hidden peanut, or milk in candy. Just one bite of the wrong food can be life- threatening.

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is launching the fourth annual Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy Coin Collection Campaign, a fun and safe program for children with food allergies, to join in the Halloween festivities. Instead of trick-or-treats, millions of children with food allergies nationwide will be collecting pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters for food allergies.

"Many of us can fondly recall our days of trick-or-treating, feeling left out would have been traumatic," said Anne Munoz-Furlong, Founder and CEO of FAAN. "The coin collection campaign is a fun alternative that allows children to tell their story of food allergy in a positive way. It makes them feel special but not different."

Prizes will be awarded to children who raise a certain level of funds. Incentives for participation include a multi voice changer mega phone, MP3 player, X-Style Kaleidoscope, and an Icebar Radio with headphones. Proceeds will go toward food allergy education and research programs.

Participants from the past two years will receive their boxes in the mail by the beginning of October. Others interested in participating should contact FAAN at 1-800-929-4040 or visit their Web site.

Abbott's Ross Products Division, makers of EleCare®, is the proud sponsor of the 2006 Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy Halloween Coin Collection Campaign.

To request an interview with Anne Munoz-Furlong, Founder and CEO of FAAN, please contact Lauren Lawson at 703.563.3052 or at llawson@foodallergymail.org

For more information about The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, please visit http://www.foodallergy.org

Source: Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

Posted by David at 2:02 PM

October 3, 2006

Special Events Require Special Menus

source: specialevents.com

by Jana Skarnulis

Jana Skarnulis was diagnosed with celiac disease — a digestive disorder triggered by the protein gluten — in 2005 and has had to give up one of the benefits of her job as an event planner — the tastings. She now helps chefs design menus when a food allergy or special diet is a concern. Here, she offers tips on adapting event menus for guests with food issues who are still eager to join the party.

As professionals in the special event industry, it is our job to transform the clients' visions into perfection. Often, special events means tackling special needs. With the increasing incidence of food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities, special needs mean special diets. Even so, creating menus that “wow” the clients and cater to their guests can be achieved easily.


Preparation is the key to success. There is nothing worse than a guest showing up to a dinner and having to wait while a special meal is prepared. The table of attendees sits and waits for the missing plate, while the guest with the special diet anxiously shifts in his or her seat, and the wait staff apologizes for the delay. At last the plate of food arrives, and it usually arouses either envy or pity.

We can avert this by doing one simple thing: A response card should accompany all invitations. Adding a sentence of inquiry on all response cards asking for information on “special dietary needs” would be a great problem-solver. Being properly prepared is half the battle! Using such a card means we know before the event that there are special dietary needs, and we know who has them.

Printed menus are exquisite. They add an element of elegance to any event. But take them a step further — not only list the courses but also the ingredients within the courses. Let the guests who may not have expressed their nutritional concerns on their RSVP have the opportunity to make individual choices in keeping with their dietary concerns.


Posted by David at 1:41 PM