Greetings. Labor Day is now only a couple of weeks away. The end of the summer season is looming over the horizon. There is still time for some fun during August.
In this issue you will find an inspiring profile of Maya Konoff and her mom Jill Mindlin. Both mother and daughter have learned to navigate the world of food allergies and now use their experiences to educate and advocate on behalf of allergy sufferers
You also see how the roles of doctor, researcher and a parent of a child with food allergies, influence the work of Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH as the founding Director of the Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research (CFAAR) at Northwestern’s Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM).
Additionally, in this issue you will find articles on the search for new treatment options for anaphylaxis, such as a peanut patch and an epinephrine nasal spray.
Concerning our annual Action Awards Celebration, this year we will honor Shahzad Mustafa MD and Jared Saiontz. Two people could hardly be more different than Shahzad and Jared. One is a grown man with many years as a practicing physician. The other is a young man working his way towards graduation from Junior high school. Both have performed exemplary acts of service aiding individuals at risk for anaphylaxis.
This year's event will be held virtually via our website this fall. So stay tune for more information. We hope you will be able to join us for a fun filled evening celebration honoring our award winners.
For children with food allergies, “a normal childhood” can be difficult. It is also something that many parents try desperately to provide. That is easier said than done. From diligently examining ingredient listings, to educating friends, family and school officials about their children’s specific allergies and treatment, it can be challenging. It also requires enlisting the children early on to become their own advocate because Mom or Dad will not always be there. That is the wonderful story of Maya Konoff and her mom Jill Mindlin. Since her young daughter was learning to read a list of ingredients, Jill was educating and advocating for Maya and others about food allergies. Maya has learned those lessons; she has succeeded in becoming a strong advocate for young people with food allergies. Read their amazing story here.
Maya Konoff and Her Mom Jill Mindlin Talk Anaphylaxis, Advocacy and Living Each Day to the Fullest
By Kristen Stewart August 17th, 2020
"Read the 'gredients" was one of the first full sentences Maya Konoff spoke as a toddler over 15 years ago — and it was just the beginning of the lifelong advocacy she and her mother Jill Mindlin have undertaken for herself and others after she was diagnosed with severe food allergies at nine months old.
Doctor, researcher and parent of a child with food allergies, all three roles influence Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH in her work as the founding Director of the Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research (CFAAR) at Northwestern’s Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM). At CFAAR, she and her team conduct research investigating the causes behind food allergies as well as the possible influences that environment may play. Their work also goes beyond the laboratory. They have engaged the community by co-hosting over 100 “health leader” workshops. These workshops work towards empowering Chicago public high school students to become health advocates through educating their own peers and community members. Learn more about Dr. Gupta and the CFAAR’s vital work here.
Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research Director Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, Leads with a Personal Touch
By Gina Bazer July 27th, 2020
A small comic strip displayed in the office of Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, serves as a sort of mission statement. The first frame shows an adult telling a child, “When I was your age, there were no food allergies.” The next one shows that same child, now grown up, telling a younger kid, “When I was your age, there were food allergies.”
In developing an adhesive patch treatment, DBV Technologies, believed they found an effective and safe method to provide help to those suffering from peanut allergies. The Food and Drug Administration didn’t agree. The FDA has decided not to approve, at least for now, DBV Technologies’ Viaskin Peanut, a skin patch allergy desensitization treatment. The FDA’s concern appears to be around the issue of adhesion to the skin and its possible impact on treatment. While the FDA’s decision was met with disappointment within the food allergy community and DBV, there continues to be hope that the needed changes can be made, that the FDA will be able to approve and that a new treatment for peanut allergy sufferers will be available.
The FDA says it won’t approve DBV Technologies’ Viaskin Peanut, the novel skin patch allergy desensitization treatment, at least not in its current form.
In announcing the drug regulator’s decision, DBV said in a press release that the FDA raised concerns about Viaskin patch’s adhesion to the skin and the impact of that on treatment. To address the concerns, DBV says the FDA calls for patch modifications, followed by “a new human factor study.”
The company’s leadership vows to comply with the FDA’s requests and move forward. “We are very disappointed in the FDA’s response, but continue to believe in the potential of Viaskin Peanut,” Daniel Tassé, CEO of DBV, said in the August 4 release.
DBV says the FDA also requested further clinical data on chemistry and manufacturing. No safety concerns were raised related to the therapy.
Epinephrine is the known treatment for anaphylaxis. The way that epinephrine is administered is through injection. That may soon change. ARS Pharmaceuticals has announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a second key patent for ARS-1, a low dose intranasal epinephrine nasal spray currently in clinical development. Because time is of the essence when an anaphylaxis attack occurs, many believe, as does ASR, an epinephrine nasal spray can be an effective replacement treatment of autoinjectors. A fear of needles or apprehension of operating an auto-injector has been sighted as one of the reasons for the desire for an epinephrine nasal spray.
ARS Pharmaceuticals today announced that on June 16, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a second key patent for ARS-1, a low dose intranasal epinephrine nasal spray currently in clinical development. This dosage is significantly lower than other reported investigational intranasal epinephrine projects in development and thus helps protect against possible accidental overdose risk during a severe allergic reaction. This follows a patent approved last year covering the composition of matter of ARS-1. ARS Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to putting patients first and these ARS-1 innovations are an important step for those with severe allergic reactions to get lifesaving, pain free treatment.