The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) announced yesterday it had received a philanthropic gift of $2 million to launch a clinical trial of dupilumab to help introduce foods that cause eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) into patients’ diets.
EoE is a chronic disease of the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. With EoE, white blood cells called eosinophils build up in the esophagus causing damage and inflammation leading to pain, vomiting, and trouble swallowing.
Dupilumab is a monoclonal antibody used to treat severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) and chronic rhinosinusitis.
Although EoE is considered rare, it is likely underdiagnosed as it is a newly recognized disease where the early symptoms mimic heartburn/reflux (GERD). The most common underlying cause of EoE is a food allergy that involves foods like milk, eggs, wheat, soy, beef, chicken, potato, and corn.
Said Dr Jonathan Spergel, chief of the Allergy Program at CHOP:
One of the major treatments for EoE is food avoidance. Patients with EoE have been told to avoid these foods for their entire life.
Dupilumab is currently used as a medication for eczema and asthma. We surmise that leveraging use of the existing drug for this new purpose will allow our patients to expand their diet and add these foods into their meals.
EoE patients are excluded from oral immunotherapy (OIT) because ingesting even small amounts of trigger foods can lead to vomiting, food impaction, and chest and abdominal pain.
“A successful clinical trial would open the possibility of food introduction to more than 3,500 CHOP patients with EoE,” said Dr Spergel.
The donation was made by the Mondre and Lane families, no strangers to food allergies. When they learned of an opportunity to potentially bring a new oral immunotherapy to thousands of children with EoE, they determined CHOP was best positioned to lead a clinical trial.
Said donors Eric and Sarah Lane:
CHOP’s deeply talented and accomplished teams of pediatric food allergies are uniquely capable to advance this research. We are proud to partner with the Mondre family and hope our support helps accelerate the future of research in this area and enhances the care for children and families faced with pediatric food allergies.
Said donors Alexandra and Greg Mondre:
We are incredibly proud to partner with the Lane family to support Dr. Spergel and his team at CHOP to advance their research on food allergies and EoE. This study has the potential to change the lives of thousands of children suffering from dangerous food allergies and we are honored to support it.
Said Dr Spergel:
On behalf of the Food Allergy Center, I want to thank the Mondre and Lane families for their generous support to bring new treatment options to our patients and families who depend on us. Their donation will allow us to provide better outcomes for our patients as well as enhance quality of life while advancing pediatric allergy care for children worldwide.
Click here for more information about dupilumab and its potential to treat eczema, asthma, and food allergies.
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Receives $2 Million Gift to Jump Start New Clinical Trial for Severe Food Allergies — CHOP Press Release
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis — Medline Plus