Food Allergy Research

Report from AAAAI: Multiple Allergen OIT Follow-up, Socioeconomic Disparities and Peanut Exposure in Common Places

As FARE has been reporting, a number of abstracts were presented at this past weekend’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Here, we present information on a few of the studies involving food allergy that were highlighted in press releases from AAAAI.

Long-term Follow-Up of Oral Immunotherapy for Multiple Food Allergies

In this study from Stanford University, researchers reported long-term follow-up data for patients who were desensitized after multiple oral immunotherapy to try to better understand long-term effects after completion of various clinical trials. Overall, they learned that patients regularly consumed home doses that maintained desensitization.

“We repeated food challenges and all subjects in both groups remained desensitized to at least 2 g of each of their food allergens, even those who chose to consume smaller home doses as little as three times per week,” said Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research at Stanford University School of Medicine.

For more details on this study, please read the AAAAI press release.

Socioeconomic Disparities in the Economic Impact of Childhood Food Allergy

In this FARE-funded study led by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, with Northwestern Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital, researchers examined the socioeconomic disparities for families with food allergies. They found that families with children with food allergies in the lowest income stratum spend two and a half times more on emergency department and hospitalization costs, and less on specialists and out-of-pocket medication costs.

“The first line of treatment for anaphylaxis is epinephrine, but costs can be a barrier for many families. Some patients may keep expired auto-injectors or cannot afford to fill their prescription in the first place,” Gupta said.

FARE funded this study to understand the disparities in the economic burden of childhood food allergy, said James R. Baker, Jr, MD, CEO and chief medical officer of FARE.

“This data shows the remarkable direct and out-of-pocket costs related to food allergies, which families have to bear,” Baker said. “This reinforces that food allergies are an important economic issue as well as a medical problem.”

Read AAAAI’s press release here.

Air and Surface Quantification of Peanut Ara h 2 Concentrations in Common Public Settings

In this study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester sought to learn more about how much peanut exposure occurs in places like restaurants and airplanes.

“Clinicians often make avoidance recommendations without direct evidence of the amount of peanut or peanut exposure in these environments,” primary author Jay Jin, MD, PhD, said in a press release from AAAAI.  “So we quantified aerosolized and surface levels of Ara h2 – one of the peanut proteins associated with food allergy – in common, public locations hoping to provide evidence-driven recommendations.”

Ara h 2 was detected in large air sample collections during active shelling of peanuts, but not in personal breathing zones at restaurants where unshelled peanuts are available in the dining area. Ara h 2 was found on table surfaces in these restaurants. Topping counters at frozen yogurt shops also contained amounts of Ara h 2.

“Interestingly, we found an average of 13.5 ng/mL of Ara h2 on airplane tray tables when peanuts were not even served during the flight,” Jin explained in the press release. During flights where peanuts were available, tray table surface averages climbed to 175.3 ng/mL of Ara h2 after mid-flight service with peanuts.

“Our research shows that peanut exposure in public settings is most likely to occur by contact with surfaces harboring allergens rather than by inhalation, even in peanut-rich environments. It also reinforces the practice of regularly cleaning common surfaces, especially for individuals with a peanut allergy,” Jin said.

To read more about the findings and how the study was conducted, read the full press release from AAAAI.

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