Cincinnati Children’s Joins Expansion of NIH Food Allergy Research Program

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical are joining an intensified effort by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fight the growing problem of food allergies.

Marc E. Rothenberg, MD, PhD, director of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s, is receiving a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR). CoFAR was established in 2005 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of NIH) to conduct observational and clinical studies to determine the causes of food allergies and to look for new therapeutic strategies.

The funding will be used by Dr. Rothenberg to further his investigation into eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. A recognized leader in the study of these disorders, Dr. Rothenberg said the grant underscores the importance of continuing this line of research, aimed at deciphering this enigmatic food allergy disorder.

“The recognition of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders by CoFAR emphasizes the continuing public health concern created by this set of emerging food-elicited hypersensitivity immune responses,” Dr. Rothenberg said.

“It is my hope that interactive studies with the other CoFAR investigators will lead to transformative ideas and treatments.”

Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly treats nutritious food as a dangerous foreign invader. As a result, the body produces an excess of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell that can cause chronic inflammation and tissue damage. This often results in nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

In addition to clinical studies, the genetic causes of food allergy and Eosinophilic Esophagitis will be investigated. Continuing studies into disorders that focus on Eosinophilic Esophagitis will be led by Cincinnati Children’s doctors and done in collaboration with investigators at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Denver Children’s Hospital.

"By expanding CoFAR’s research goals to include studies of the genetic components of food allergy and broadening the research to include food allergy-associated diseases like Eosinophilic Esophagitis, we expect that its work will continue to increase our understanding of how food elicits an allergic reaction in certain people," says Daniel Rotrosen, MD, director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Expansion of the CoFAR-supported research into eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders is made possible by NIH renewing the consortium’s funding with a five-year, $29.9 million grant.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of just eight children’s hospitals named to the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010-11 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is ranked #1 for digestive disorders and highly ranked for its expertise in pulmonology, cancer, neonatology, heart and heart surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, diabetes and endocrinology, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for quality and transformation work by Leapfrog, The Joint Commission, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and by hospitals and health organizations it works with globally. Additional information can be found at

Contact Information

Danielle Lewis, 513-636-9473,