FAIRFIELD, Conn., May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — End Allergies Together (EAT), a non-profit organization that funds research for the growing food allergy epidemic affecting approximately 32 million Americans, announced the launch of a $1 Million Grand Challenge to End Anaphylaxis. The Grand Challenge is the first in a series of challenges to address key areas in food allergy research and requires scientific collaboration across health conditions and within the investment community. The Challenge will accelerate ways to detect, prevent or better treat anaphylaxis — a serious allergic reaction to stimuli such as food, medication, or venom and may be fatal if not treated quickly with epinephrine and evaluated by medical professionals. Incidence and prevalence of anaphylaxis is increasing: According to FAIR Health’s most recent study of private insurance claims, anaphylactic food reaction diagnoses grew 377 percent from 2007 to 2016.
In Phase I of the Challenge, applicant teams with the most developed and innovative plans for detecting, preventing or treating anaphylaxis will receive up to a $1 million investment to seed their plans. In Phase II, teams who successfully reach their benchmarks then receive follow-on funding to further advance their ideas. Phase I winners will be announced in early 2020. Details and deadlines can be found at EndAllergiesTogether.com/Challenge.
The Grand Challenge announcement was made in tandem with a new, powerful video called “One Word,” which shares the first-hand stories of families, kids, teens, parents, school nurses and researchers who care for or treat people who have severe food allergies. This poignant video, created for EAT by the award-winning advertising agency BBDO New York, shows the urgency behind solving anaphylaxis. [Watch video here: https://vimeo.com/331846565]
“It’s the constant threat of anaphylaxis from food that has control over us and instills way too much fear in our daily lives,” emphasizes Ben Carter, who is an EAT Challenge Panelist, a parent of children with food allergies, and a partner at Southpoint Capital Advisors. “EAT’s video ‘One Word’ gets to the core of how those of us feel who are affected by or have loved ones with food allergies.”
Dr. Joon Yun, M.D., an EAT Challenge Panelist, president of Palo Alto Investors, and founding $2 million sponsor of the National Academy of Medicine’s Global Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity, explains the benefit of this model: “Grand Challenges can help nurture innovations in areas of unmet needs. The excitement associated with Grand Challenge competitions can help attract more attention, people, ideas, and funding to the issues of anaphylaxis and food allergies.”
What is Anaphylaxis?
There is a fundamental lack of understanding about anaphylaxis – what it is, how to detect it and how to treat it. According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, “Anaphylaxis represents one of the most urgent of medical emergencies, in which rapid diagnosis and prompt and appropriate treatment can mean the difference between life and death.”
Various parts of the body can be affected and symptoms such as throat tightening or closure, trouble breathing, swollen mouth, hives, dizziness, and vomiting, can occur within minutes or up to two hours after the trigger is exposed. With the increasing number of allergens causing anaphylaxis, the need for research and technological investment is great.
Life-Threatening Drug-Induced Anaphylaxis
“With the rise in food induced anaphylaxis, as well as increasing anaphylaxis to new cancer treatments, more must be done to provide accurate detection of and targeted interventions for anaphylaxis,” says Dr. Marianna Castells, M.D., PhD., EAT Panelist and Director Drug Hypersensitivity and Desensitization Center, Harvard Medical School; Director, Mastocytosis Center, Harvard Medical School; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Allergy and Immunology.
The threat of potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis from just a bite of food may cause fear in those living with food allergies. For those with drug allergies, it may prevent access to first line, often life-saving, medications such as chemotherapies and antibiotics. And those with venom allergies may feel at risk just by going outside. In all cases, a shot of epinephrine is, and has been, the only effective, immediate treatment for decades. The Grand Challenge is hoping to change that.
Public Service Announcement: Importance of Epinephrine
EAT and BBDO produced a Public Service Announcement last August, called “Give and Go,” starring Hall of Fame football player Jerome Bettis, which promoted the importance of giving epinephrine and going to call 911 during anaphylaxis. It launched online and aired in movie theaters across the country.
For more information about EAT, to see the Give and Go PSA, or apply for the Challenge, please visit EndAllergiesTogether.com
About End Allergies Together (E.A.T.)
End Allergies Together (“E.A.T”) is a 501c(3) non-profit organization focused solely on raising money for food allergy research. E.A.T. was co-founded in 2015 by Elise and Greg Bates and Kim and Tom Hall, who have children with severe food allergies, to help bridge the significant gap in research funding for this growing epidemic. E.A.T has committed more than $1.7 million to fund eight promising research efforts across eleven top institutions. Proceeds go directly to the researchers dedicated to finding answers.
Please see an allergist for signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and visit www.AAP.org/anaphylaxis for an Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan.