Food Allergy Research at Stanford
Breaking news! As a parent of a child currently enrolled in a clinical trial at Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research (SAFAR) and as a member of the SAFAR Community Council, I receive updates and I am excited to share three opportunities to participate in a food allergy clinical trial at Stanford for peanut and wheat! Contact them ASAP before enrollment closes or spaces run out so that you don’t miss out on this opportunity. Here’s the announcement:
Stanford Allergy Center is currently enrolling for three oral immunotherapy (OIT) food allergy clinical trials. If you are interested in being screened for any of these studies, please send us an email.
Upon completion of your participating trial, you will be offered state of the art immunotherapy treatment for all your other allergies as part of your continuing care at our Allergy Center.
Peanut OIT Study: Safety, Efficacy, and Discovery (POISED study): Enrolling 120 peanut-allergic patients ages 8-55 years old. Find out specific details on the trial, including inclusion and exclusion criteria here.
OIT for Wheat Allergy (Wheat OIT study): Stanford site is enrolling 12 patients ages 4-30 years old with a diagnosed wheat allergy. Specific details on the trial, including inclusion and exclusion criteria, can be found here.
Peanut OIT in Children (IMPACT study): Stanford site is enrolling 29 peanut-allergic children ages 12 to 48 months. For specific details on the trial, including inclusion and exclusion criteria, please click here.
I’m sure some of you will immediately send an email to SAFAR expressing your strong interest in a trial and requesting for more information. My son has had very positive experiences at each of his appointments and I feel confident that the staff are caring, professional, and provide high quality care. At our last appointment I learned that the FDA now requires that a doctor or a physician assistant monitor the patients throughout any challenges, thus improving the standard of care. They are also building a support group for trial participants.
Some readers might not be interested in a clinical trial and that’s okay too. Some readers might hesitate and I can completely understand because I had a lot of questions when I first heard about the clinical trials at Stanford. I went from “too scared to do anything” to “too scared not to do anything” to help my son when he needed an epi due to a reaction to airborne nuts. I did a lot of reading to find out more about OIT, which stands for Oral Immunotherapy, a desensitization treatment that involves ingesting small amounts of allergenic foods in increasing doses over time. Had I acted first and asked questions later, my son might have had a chance to participate in the multiple allergen study with xolair that was wonderfully featured in the New York Times last year (provided he met all the inclusion and exclusion criteria). All the OIT trials were closed when I finally worked up the courage but fortunately a peanut patch trial soon opened up, which attempts to desensitize via the skin instead of eating. I’m so thankful my son qualified for it.
I became completely in awe of Dr. Kari Nadeau, the primary investigator at Stanford’s food allergy research program, when I attended a food allergy presentation hosted by SAFAR. The parents of some of her patients shared what their children’s lives were like before and after the trials and Dr. Nadeau gave a very educational and informative talk. During the Q&A, I asked her whether she treats patients with a history of anaphylaxis to airborne food allergens and her reply was that she wants to treat those who are severely allergic because they are the ones who need her help the most. I was deeply moved by her compassionate answer and felt she understood my deep desperation. INSTANT LOVE!!! Dr. Nadeau is among some of the most brilliant allergy researchers in the world but watching her talk with my son and other patients in her kind and gentle manner is incredibly heartwarming.
My friends know that when I become exasperated with food allergy issues, I use the hashtag #WeNeedACure. Seriously, isn’t that the truth? We need a cure. Thanks to courageous families who participated in food allergy research clinical study trials over the past 10 years, we have many promising options for food allergy treatment and desensitization such as OIT, SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy), EPIT (epicutaneous immunotherapy, e.g. peanut patch), FAHF-2 (Chinese herbs studied by Dr. Li at Mt. Sinai) but we don’t have all the answers yet. That is why the food allergy researchers still need our participation so they can refine their research on how to desensitize for food allergies.
We can start by having open hearts and minds and informing ourselves about food allergy research through reputable sources, such as Discovery Channel’s documentary. We can get involved and donate our time, resources, and connections to raise money for food allergy research such as SAFAR. We can participate in a clinical trial to help the researchers advance their research work. Clinical trial participation requires commitment with no guaranteed outcomes, but the thought of helping others is rewarding and the chance at a cure represents hope for a better future. If you live within driving distance of Stanford (some patients fly in for their appointments!), contact them so that you can make an informed decision. Did I mention that the trials are free to participants due to generous philanthropy?
Additionally, SAFAR has received approval to open a food allergy research center, Stanford Food Allergy Food Intolerance Center and I am so proud to support such an incredible resource in my local community that will have durable impact all over the world. Dr. Nadeau is wonderful and we almost always have this lovely exchange whenever we see each other: I thank her for fantastic work and she (paraphrasing here) says that it’s all about the patients, their questions based upon their needs and their engagement. Amazing, right?
For more information about Stanford’s food allergy research, visit their website and be sure to click on the learn about food allergies tab. One of my favorite resources is Dr. Nadeau’s Food Allergy FAQ.