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NIH expands food allergy research program
Date:7/14/2010

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"Key research on eosinophils has confirmed the important role they play in inflammatory diseases of the upper GI tract," says Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., director of NIDDK, co-sponsor of CoFAR. "We hope that the new genetic studies involving EGIDs will help researchers identify and develop novel treatments."

The causes of food allergy and EGIDs are unknown. Although these diseases seem to have a genetic component, the genes responsible have yet to be identified. Additionally, some people outgrow their childhood allergies, whereas others develop new ones.

When NIAID established CoFAR in 2005 with five clinical sites, the goal was to help improve understanding of why food allergy develops and how can it be treated or prevented.

During this first phase, CoFAR investigators initiated three clinical trials. One clinical trial is testing if drops containing gradually increasing amounts of peanut protein, given under the tongue, can effectively treat people with peanut allergy. The second trial is evaluating gradually increasing doses of a modified peanut protein, given in a suppository, to treat peanut allergy. In the third clinical trial, volunteers receive egg protein by mouth in gradually increasing doses to treat egg allergy.

CoFAR investigators also initiated an observational study to determine what factors correlate with their allergy continuing or resolving. The study also aims to determine what factors correlate with developing or not developing a new allergy to peanuts. The study has enrolled more than 500 infants, ages 3 to 15 months, with known egg or milk allergy.

All of these studies will continue under the new initiative. In addition, CoFAR will add a new clinical trial to treat peanut allergy, using peanut protein that will be applied on the skin. As part of the program expansion, there will be two new research sites looking for genes associated with food allergy and three consulting sites conduct
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Contact: Julie Wu
wujuli@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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