Dr. Jonathan Spergel Awarded 2018 Patient Impact Award for Novel Treatment of Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Published on in CHOP News

Jonathan Spergel, MD, PhD, Chief of the Allergy Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was awarded a Patient Impact Award by Life Sciences Pennsylvania at its Annual Dinner, which took place on March 13, 2019. Dr. Spergel was recognized for his work in creating a novel treatment of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), a chronic allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus that can cause difficulty swallowing or gagging. Last year, CHOP designated the Food Allergy Center as a Frontier Program, a group of programs within the hospital that focus on extraordinary clinical care with breakthrough discoveries.

(Dr. Reetika Kumar, Dr. Jonathan Spergel and Christopher P. Molineaux L to R): Dr. Reetika Kumar, VP of Clinical Services, AmeriHealth Administrators, Dr. Jonathan Spergel, Chief of the Allergy Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Christopher P. Molineaux, President and CEO of Life Sciences Pennsylvania. Credit - Jordan Brian Photography

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Pennsylvania Life Sciences community,” said Dr. Spergel. “Being designated as a Frontier Program last year by CHOP has helped us make strides in the search for a treatment for EoE, and we believe we can someday help these patients move beyond managing their symptoms to finding a cure.”

Dr. Spergel’s treatment involves using a skin patch with trace amounts of milk protein to slowly desensitize a patient’s allergic reaction. Currently, the only way to diagnose EoE is by a biopsy of the esophagus. The underlying cause is almost always a food allergy, and children must be placed on a restrictive diet for months in order for the esophagus to heal. Once that happens, foods are slowly re-introduced to attempt to discover the food or foods causing the allergy. Dr. Spergel and his team at the Food Allergy Center at CHOP are actively working toward a cure, and are one of the only hospitals in the United States to treat patients with this rare disease.

Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s Patient Impact Award recognizes a medicine, therapy, device, or organization that made a significant contribution to the quality of healthcare or length of life of patients in 2018. Eligible organizations include medical device, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies and research institutions with significant operations in Pennsylvania. The honorees are selected by a committee of representatives from the Pennsylvania healthcare and academic research community, and the award is sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. ITF Pharma and Takeda were among the other winners of the Patient Impact Award.