The 2017 FARE National Food Allergy Conference is fast approaching. This year, the conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. The conference is always a great opportunity to connect with other individuals and families with food allergy and to learn from food allergy experts. Over the next several weeks, the FARE team will be introducing you to some of these experts and speakers who will be presenting at this year’s conference.
Our first speaker, Dr. Scott Sicherer, is a practicing allergist, clinical researcher, and professor of pediatrics. He is Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He’s also the author of Food Allergies: A Complete Guide for Eating When Your Life Depends On It.
FARE: Tell us about why you decided to focus on food allergy research early in your career and what has kept you interested over your career?
SS: I planned to do asthma research, but as a trainee (mid 1990s) I saw in the clinic how impactful food allergy was on people’s daily lives and how little we knew about management, diagnosis and prognosis. By chance, I fielded a single call from the FDA with them asking a list of questions such as: “How many people are allergic to peanut and tree nuts? If we get contamination of a product, how much would be a problem and what reaction might it cause? Who is at risk? Are some tree nuts more problematic than others? What should trigger a recall?”. I realized we had no answers and I was hooked on figuring this out. I began to work on studies of epidemiology, diagnostics, prognosis, genetics, risk factors, social and emotional implications, labelling, characterizing allergy manifestations and outcomes, how to educate physicians, families, caretakers, and others, and, of course, therapeutics. It is amazing to see how far the field has come and how close we are to amazing breakthroughs.
FARE: You’ve spoken at the FARE National Conferences before – what is your favorite part?
SS: I love answering audience questions. Like questions from patients and families in clinic, it gives me the opportunity to give advice that may improve people’s lives and also challenges me to think of additional ways to solve problems for the food-allergy community, and design studies to solve the unknowns.
FARE: What do you hope attendees will be able to take away from your sessions?
SS: Hope itself. I want the attendees to be familiar with the diverse portfolio of potential treatments. It’s a tremendously exciting time for food allergy and I am enthusiastic that we will be seeing a real change in treatment and management over the coming years.
FARE: When I’m not at work, you’ll find me….
SS: Working from home. Otherwise, I am trying to find time for my fantastic wife, 5 wonderful adult-ish kids, 2 dogs, a bird and a treadmill.
Dr. Sicherer will be presenting on some of the latest findings in food allergy research at this year’s FARE National Food Allergy Conference. Register today!