NIH designates $42.7 million for food allergy research consortium

March 29, 2017

WHAT:

The National Institutes of Health intends to award $42.7 million over seven years to the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR) so it may continue evaluating new approaches to treat food allergy. Established in 2005, the CoFAR has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH. The first year of funding has been awarded, and awards will be made in subsequent years based on the availability of funds.

An estimated 4 percent of adults and 5 percent of children in the United States have food allergy, a condition in which the immune system reacts abnormally to a component of a food. Allergic symptoms can range from mild reactions, such as hives or stomach cramps, to severe and life-threatening anaphylaxis, characterized by swelling of the larynx, difficulty breathing, and fainting from low blood pressure. The prevalence of food allergy is rising without a known cause, and no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for food allergy is yet available.

To address this problem, CoFAR scientists are working to develop immunotherapy approaches to treat food allergy. Immunotherapy involves exposing the immune system to an allergen in a controlled way to eventually reduce immediate allergic symptoms and ultimately bring about long-term relief. This technique can take many forms, and the CoFAR is investigating different approaches.

Among its accomplishments to date, the CoFAR has demonstrated the clinical benefit of egg oral immunotherapy for treating egg allergy and has identified the most promising routes, doses and durations of egg and peanut immunotherapy for further study. In addition, the CoFAR has identified genes associated with an increased risk for peanut allergy among Americans of European descent.

Leading the CoFAR is Robert A. Wood, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, with A. Wesley Burks, M.D., of the UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, and Marsha Wills-Karp, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

WHERE:

The locations and principal investigators of the seven CoFAR clinical sites are: RHO, Inc., of Chapel Hill is serving as the statistical and clinical coordinating center.

WHO:Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the Food Allergy, Atopic Dermatitis, and Allergic Mechanisms Section in the NIAID Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, is available for interviews.
-end-
CONTACT:

To schedule interviews, please contact Laura S. Leifman, (301) 402-1663, laura.sivitz@nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/.

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Related Immune System Articles from Brightsurf:

How the immune system remembers viruses
For a person to acquire immunity to a disease, T cells must develop into memory cells after contact with the pathogen.

How does the immune system develop in the first days of life?
Researchers highlight the anti-inflammatory response taking place after birth and designed to shield the newborn from infection.

Memory training for the immune system
The immune system will memorize the pathogen after an infection and can therefore react promptly after reinfection with the same pathogen.

Immune system may have another job -- combatting depression
An inflammatory autoimmune response within the central nervous system similar to one linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) has also been found in the spinal fluid of healthy people, according to a new Yale-led study comparing immune system cells in the spinal fluid of MS patients and healthy subjects.

COVID-19: Immune system derails
Contrary to what has been generally assumed so far, a severe course of COVID-19 does not solely result in a strong immune reaction - rather, the immune response is caught in a continuous loop of activation and inhibition.

Immune cell steroids help tumours suppress the immune system, offering new drug targets
Tumours found to evade the immune system by telling immune cells to produce immunosuppressive steroids.

Immune system -- Knocked off balance
Instead of protecting us, the immune system can sometimes go awry, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.

Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.

How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.

Read More: Immune System News and Immune System Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.