FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
McLEAN, VA (May 1, 2019) — Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the largest private funder of food allergy research in the world, today announced an oral immunotherapy (OIT) summit that will convene leading allergists, researchers and food allergy advocates. The summit intends to address the risks and benefits of OIT, OIT implementation in practice and the gaps in knowledge about OIT to enable physicians to have a better understanding of this therapy and to help patients make fully- informed choices about treatment options. The summit will also examine future therapies that could provide safer and more effective options for families considering treatment.
OIT involves introducing increasing amounts of an allergen, such as peanuts, to allergic individuals with the goal of increasing the threshold triggering a reaction. An increasing number of allergists are offering OIT in private practices around the U.S. At the same time, the FDA is currently reviewing AR101, a peanut oral immunotherapy product, and an application for Viaskin Peanut, an epicutaneous immunotherapy, is being resubmitted.
“There are 32 million Americans living with food allergies, a disease that carries the daily burden of 24-hour vigilance to prevent life-threatening reactions,” said FARE CEO Lisa Gable. “The current standard of care — avoidance or treatment of serious reactions with epinephrine and a trip to the emergency room can be costly and negatively impact quality of life. FARE is organizing the ‘Food OIT in Practice’ summit to bring together the country’s top experts to discuss treatment options, including in-office oral immunotherapy, which may offer the possibility of living a life with less anxiety and fear of acute allergic reactions caused by accidental exposure.”
FARE was pleased to announce plans for the invitation-only summit at its recently held Research Retreat, attended by top research scientists in the field. Invitees include representatives from government agencies and professional allergy associations as well as other key experts in the field, and importantly, representatives of the patient community.
To better serve patients with food allergies, FARE believes it is essential to bring food allergy stakeholders together to work toward standardizing diagnostic criteria, discuss OIT regimens and address potential outcome assessments necessary to better identify the risks and benefits of this treatment. A new review article on peanut oral immunotherapy published last week by The Lancet has drawn attention to the rigors and risk of OIT compared with avoidance while calling for more data on long-term quality of life effect of therapy.
“OIT is well-supported by medical research, however, there is still work to be done to ensure immunotherapies are as safe and effective as they can possibly be,” said Dr. Thomas B. Casale, FARE’s Chief Medical Advisor for Operations. “What The Lancet review does not fully explore is the long-term impact, benefits and protection that can be achieved through this therapy in relation to the risks involved with the OIT. We know that oral immunotherapy has had a positive life-changing impact on patients’ lives, but we don’t yet fully understand which patients are the best candidates for this therapy. We need more research not only on who will best respond to this treatment, but
about the long-term benefits OIT provides in protecting against accidental exposures and improvements in quality of life. We are committed to advancing research efforts into new therapies and their safety and efficacy — all with the goal of improving the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies and providing hope through the promise of new treatments.”
FARE’s “Food OIT in Practice” summit will be held in Houston prior to the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in November.
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) works on behalf of the 32 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children in the U.S. – or roughly two in every classroom. FARE’s mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. Our work is organized around three core tenets: LIFE – support the ability of individuals with food allergies to live safe, productive lives with the respect of others through our education and advocacy initiatives; HEALTH – enhance the healthcare access of individuals with food allergies to state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment; and HOPE – encourage and fund research in both industry and academia that promises new therapies to improve the allergic condition. For more information, please visit www.foodallergy.org and find us on Twitter @FoodAllergy, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.
Senior Director of Communications NGregory@foodallergy.org