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Food Allergy Center Pediatric Allergy & Immunology 55 Fruit Street, CPZS 557 • Boston, MA 02114 (617) 643-6834 • Fax: (617) 724-4306 • wshreffler@partners.org

Wayne G. Shreffler, MD PhD Director, Food Allergy Center Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

May 18, 2012

Dear Parent or Patient, I am writing to you on behalf of all of us at the Food Allergy Center at MGH as Food Allergy Awareness Week winds down. For us, as well as all of you, every week is about food allergy awareness. However, having one week especially set aside to focus more public and media attention on food allergy is a very worthwhile exercise. This year, for example, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) used the week to celebrate their 20th anniversary, and in typical fashion they spent some of that ‘anniversary energy’ lobbying congress. So this week seems like a natural time for those of us who work in the field to review what we have done and reflect on all that remains to be accomplished. I am very proud of our group here at the FAC. In the past year we have seen significant growth and coordination of our clinical services. We have welcomed a new patient care coordinator, Monic Chardin, and reorganized some things. The Friends of the FAC have started a newsletter (look for the next issue very soon). We have hosted several educational events. We have launched the first interventional trial for food allergy at MGH – a peanut oral immunotherapy trial for children – and we are gearing up for several more trials to begin in 2012 and first quarter of 2013. Here is a partial list of research efforts now or soon to be underway. • NIH-funded trials of peanut and milk OIT in adolescents and adults that will address long term tolerance. • Observational studies of children and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis designed to identify new biomarkers of disease that we hope will reduce the need for biopsies. • Multi-center industry funded trials of new anti-IgE and skin patch desensitization approaches for peanut allergy. • Pre-clinical studies to identify new adjuvants for therapy to make immunotherapy safer and more effective. • Observational studies of associations between anxiety and food allergy. These efforts have led us to form collaborations across MGH, Harvard and the greater Boston


academic and biotech communities. I sense a true groundswell of interest from all quarters in tackling the manifestations of food allergy and my intention is for the FAC to do everything we can to nurture and grow that interest and build an innovative and collaborative effort. If you have been to our FB page recently or follow me on twitter, you may have seen a comment on a piece by Atul Gawande, a surgeon at BI, writer for The New Yorker and Public Health Researcher at Harvard Medical School. He says there that, “It’s no longer about what your doctor knows, it’s about what a team of doctors, nurses, and others are able to do together.” I agree with this wholeheartedly and believe that the same spirit of collaboration must be applied to the research effort as well. Our group strives to provide first-class care for every patient and timely correspondence with you and referring providers. Our first priority is accurate diagnosis – achieved by history, physical examination, allergy skin and laboratory testing and often food challenges. The next priority is to empower you to achieve the greatest possible quality of life and peace of mind by teaching effective management and intervention. Finally, we are working in every way we can, to find better methods for diagnosis and more effective therapies. You are our key partners, not only in your own or your child’s care plan, but in research as well, and we seek active collaboration with you. If you have questions or concerns that you wish to express, or if you have any suggestions on how we can better serve you, I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely,

Wayne G. Shreffler, MD PhD


open letter from FAC @ MGH