Life, Health, Hope: Advancements and Updates in Research and Care in Food Allergies.

Allerkids .com @ 2017-12-17 11:51:18 -0800


Saturday May 16, 2016

Dr. James Baker, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Food Allergy Research & Education.

I stepped out of a five hour flight from San Francisco into the balmy tropics of Orlando Florida, and walked straight into a room full of parents at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I'm here for the FARE National Food Allergy Conference, a gathering of the country’s leading food allergy experts and members of the food allergy community for a weekend of world-class exchanges.

The Friday evening session was conducted by Jennifer Kurko, Founder and CEO of Kiss Freely Natural Cosmetics. The instant camaraderie amongst the mothers exchanging personal stories during Jennifers’ session was very touching.

I had so much to take in, and with the time conversion to Eastern, I could barely wind down to go to sleep. Regardless, I woke up the next morning energized and looking forward to learning more. Day one, I found myself facing the TV screen on my bathroom mirror, NEWSFLASH, it screamed, you have three minutes to get ready! AHhhh.

I zipped down the elevator to the breakfast hall and grabbed a quick 20 minute plate of fruit and muffin, simultaneously introducing myself to, and chatting with, parents that I had just met. When the clock stroke 8 am, we walked into what was quickly becoming a full house, commencing the first session of the day.


The FARE conference kicked off with an introduction from CEO and chief medical officer, Dr. James R. Baker, Jr.

The session was titled, ‘Life, Health, Hope: Advancements and Updates in Research and Care’.

Dr. Baker spoke about a ‘breakthrough‘ new drug by the name of Dupilumab(by Regeneron and Sanofi), that has proven safe and effective in treating both asthma, and atopic dermatitis.

Dr. Baker went on to discuss Food Allergy therapies in Clinical development. These included the DBV-Viaskin Patch and Aimmune Oral Immunotherapy. He stated that the key to pushing these therapies to the point of breakthroughs, was to define a path for FDA approval. This can only be done, he said, by facilitating large scale phase III trials. In order to do the latter, we need to increase overall sites of clinical trials for food allergies.

In 2015 FARE launched a program called the ‘Fare Clinical Network‘ (FCN), with a goal to increase clinical trial sites in the US and internationally; as well as facilitate the development of patient-centric research programs; and establish a National Advisory Board.




There are currently twenty four FCN sites operating, with the hope of adding another four to five sites in 2016; and a plan to grow to 40–50 local and international clinical trial sites.

The goal is to get enough patients into clinical trials that will give the numbers and results required for FDA approval.

Electronic medical and health records will also be put in place, so that data can be accessed and shared electronically.

Dr. Baker mentioned that the FCN currently costs $2.5 million per year, but will have an estimated cost of $6.5 million per year upon expansion. As such, FARE will need to work with the clinical trial sites to make the program sustainable.

Next, Dr. Panida Sriaroon, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida Morsani college of Medicine, took to the stage. Dr. Sriaroon is also Associate Director of the Allergy/Immunology fellowship training program, and the outpatient USF/Johns Hopkins All children’s hospital Allergy/Immunology clinic.

She also has an 18 month old son who has peanut allergies.


Dr. Sriaroon commenced by pointing out what we currently know about food allergies.

She then went on to discuss what we don’t know about food allergies.

She then mentioned that the good news is that there are key advances in food allergy research studies, and these include:

She mentioned that some questions that prevail on the LEAP study include:

Here are the findings on Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) on these other foods:



Results of Oral Immunotherapy (OIT):

SLIT (Sublingual Immunotherapy)

EPIT (Epicutaneous Immunotherapy). — eg. Peanut Patch.


In Summary:


Dr. Sriaroon went on to make the following statements regarding Future Directions:


Here is a list of drugs in phase 1/II and III trials that are currently being conducted.


In Summary, finding a cure for food allergies may seem light years away, but compared to where we were even 5 years ago, there are some promising research studies in the pipeline. Strategically executed steps are being put in to place by F.A.R.E together with investor interest and a market for epinephrine are driving research demands. to enable better access of patients to clinical trials, eventually paving the way for FDA approved new treatments.

Below are some of the advocates, researchers, and clinicians working with food allergies in their daily lives.

With Dr. James Baker, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Food Allergy Research & Education.

Dr. Baker has been advocating to expand sites for food allergy clinical trials. Recently, with the Obama initiative, FARE was awarded $250,000 to start a food allergy research program that is patient centric within the next 2 years, starting May 1st, 2016. This does not seem like a lot of money, and it’s not, considering we are talking about a health issue effecting so many children.

Secondly, creating new drugs is great, but why isn’t more funding being put towards finding out what is causing food allergies? Considering that it has mysteriously grown exponentially in the last 20 years. According to allergist Dr. Moustafa who spoke later today, only 3–4% of people have a true food allergy. Yet 1 in 13 kids in classrooms around the United States are said to have food allergies. Dr. Mustafa says that this high range is driven by physicians “broad testing”. Dr. Moustafa’s opinion is that only foods that you are suspicious of, should be tested for. Dr. Sriaroon, who spoke this morning skipped right past the question of what is causing food allergies, because no one really has an answer for that. Yet.
One thing I’ve learned is that there are so many variables, motives and unknowns involved. Food for thought indeed.


Dr. Miguel Park and Dr. Thanai Pongee for Mayo Clinic Allergy and Immunology Dept.
Very sweet, knowledgeable and funny MD’s who have first hand experience with their own kids with food allergies.
Danya Glabau, medical anthropologist and PHD student at Cornell University. I met Danny 2 years ago at the Food Allergy Bloggers conference, and have been following her research since.
Chef TJ who is in charge of special diets at the Disney Orlando resort, will cook anyone with food allergies a special 5 course meal. And best of all he does it with a smile and enthusiasm. The kids love him.
Time to dive in the pool!  —Hyatt Regency, Orlando, FL.