Medical Professional Publications

Research Now: Identifying Specific Food Allergens in Patients with Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Dr. Elizabeth Erwin’s work could lead to restricted, yet manageable, diets that would provide long-term relief from this allergic inflammatory condition of the esophagus

Dr. Elizabeth Erwin's team is performing a study to identify the specific relevant food allergens in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis.

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic disease with symptoms of severe gastroesophageal reflux disease. It has the potential for long-term complications of esophageal fibrosis and strictures. It requires extensive food elimination diets or long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids. When these treatments are discontinued, the disease usually recurs.

By analyzing the results of blood allergy testing for a large group of patients with eosinophilic esophagitis, Dr. Erwin's group has recognized that the majority of these patients have evidence of food allergy to milk or wheat. These allergies appear to be different from those that cause immediate symptoms upon food ingestion. There is some evidence to suggest that the specific allergen makes up a small amount of the protein in the whole food which has implications for the testing results.

Recognizing the causative foods and finding a test to identify them could lead to focused restricted diets that would be more manageable on a long-term basis.

Contact: Elizabeth Erwin

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