Food Allergy Initiative underwrites guidelines

by Bryan Salvage
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NEW YORK – The Food Allergy Initiative has endorsed comprehensive food-allergy guidelines, which were released by an expert panel sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Immunology, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

As the largest private source of funding for food allergy research in the US, FAI will underwrite the publication of the guidelines as a special supplement to the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The guidelines are currently available online.

By providing standardized diagnosis and treatment recommendations, the Guidelines for the Diaognosis and Management of Food Allergy In the United States: Report of the NAID-sponsored Expert Panel were designed to help healthcare professionals from many disciplines provide the best care possible for food-allergic patients throughout America. The guidelines are based on an independent, systematic review of the scientific and clinical food-allergy literature by the nation's foremost authorities on the subject.

FAI was one of 34 professional organizations, federal agencies, and patient advocacy groups represented on a coordinating committee, whose role was to oversee the development and distribution of the final document.

"The Food Allergy Initiative is proud to underwrite the publication of this landmark document, which will be distributed to thousands of healthcare professionals nationwide," said Mary Jane Marchisotto, executive director of FAI, who also served on the coordinating committee. "Food allergy is a major national health concern, particularly among children. Almost a quarter of all emergency room visits now involve children under age five, and in a national survey, elementary school nurses identified food allergy as a larger problem than diabetes. We hope these guidelines will become the standard of care for all medical professionals who treat food allergy, enabling us to save lives as well as much-needed costs in our healthcare system."

Noting the guidelines also identify gaps in existing scientific knowledge about food allergy, Marchisotto said based on the results of promising clinical trials, scientists believe a cure for food allergies is within reach.

“In addition to sponsoring outstanding research worldwide, FAI has been instrumental in increasing federal funding for food-allergy research from approximately $4 million in 2004 to nearly $27 million today,” she said. “This increase, along with the development of the guidelines, underscores the federal government's commitment to solving the problem of life-threatening food allergies. However, more research is urgently needed to answer key questions, develop better treatments, and, ultimately, to find a cure. To this end, the guidelines will be a critical tool as FAI partners with researchers, government officials, private industry and advocates to chart a Final Roadmap to a Cure."
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