Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) announced today that it has received a philanthropic gift of $2 million from the Mondre and Lane families to launch a new clinical trial at CHOP for patients suffering with severe food allergies. The funding will support a study utilizing a current FDA-approved medication called dupilumab to introduce foods that cause eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) into patients’ diets.
EoE is a chronic allergy inflammatory disease of the esophagus that causes symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting and trouble swallowing. The most common underlying cause of EoE is a food allergy that involves foods like milk, eggs, wheat, soy, beef, chicken, potato, and corn. Some patients may simply be allergic to a single food while others may be allergic to many foods.
“One of the major treatments for EoE is food avoidance. Patients with EoE have been told to avoid these foods for their entire life,” said Dr. Jonathan Spergel, Chief of the Allergy Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Dupilumab is currently used as a medication for eczema and asthma. We surmise that leveraging use of the existing drug for this new purpose will allow our patients to expand their diet and add these foods into their meals.”
Patients with EoE have been excluded from clinical trials for oral therapy because ingesting their treatment foods can trigger severe symptoms, including vomiting, food impaction and chest and abdominal pain. “A successful clinical trial would open the possibility of food introduction to more than 3,500 CHOP patients with EoE,” said Dr. Spergel.
The Mondre and Lane families have first-hand experience living with severe food allergies. When the families learned of an opportunity to potentially bring a groundbreaking oral immunotherapy to thousands of children with EoE, they knew CHOP was best positioned to lead a clinical trial.
“CHOP’s deeply talented and accomplished teams of pediatric food allergies are uniquely capable to advance this research,” said Eric and Sarah Lane. “We are proud to partner with the Mondre family and hope our support helps accelerate the future of research in this area and enhances the care for children and families faced with pediatric food allergies.”
“We are incredibly proud to partner with the Lane family to support Dr. Spergel and his team at CHOP to advance their research on food allergies and EoE,” said Alexandra and Greg Mondre. “This study has the potential to change the lives of thousands of children suffering from dangerous food allergies and we are honored to support it.”
The Food Allergy Center at CHOP is the only pediatric program nationally recognized for its expertise in diagnosing and treating all four types of food allergies and providing multidisciplinary care for children and their families. The Center also has one of the largest teams of pediatric food allergy experts in the world and is pioneering research for future breakthroughs.
“On behalf of the Food Allergy Center, I want to thank the Mondre and Lane families for their generous support to bring new treatment options to our patients and families who depend on us,” says Dr. Spergel. “Their donation will allow us to provide better outcomes for our patients as well as enhance quality of life while advancing pediatric allergy care for children worldwide.”
Contact: Jennifer Lee, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-6084 or firstname.lastname@example.org