Recipient Announced for the 2015 Hope APFED/ARTrust™ Pilot Grant Award

April 6, 2015

Funded study to examine genetic variations in the development of eosinophilic esophagitis

ATLANTA, GA—A 2015 Hope APFED/ARTrust™ Pilot Grant Award has been given to a promising research study that will focus on the mechanisms behind the development of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and investigate the age-related differences between EoE in children and adults.

Patients with EoE have above-normal numbers of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) in the lining of the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach), leading to inflammation and damage. There is no cure for EoE, and there are no FDA-approved treatments.

At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology held Feb. 19-24 in Houston, TX, Antonella Cianferoni, MD, PhD, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, was announced as the recipient of a two-year $140,000 grant for her project titled “Genotype Phenotype Correlation in Eosinophilic Esophagitis,” to be funded equally between APFED and ARTrust™.

Dr. Cianferoni’s research will help us better understand genetic variations in the development of EoE, and the important role that thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a protein that promotes allergic inflammation, plays in the process. Her research could potentially lead to a better understanding of the relationship between TSLP and two other regulator proteins (EMSY and CAPN14).

“This award will allow me to focus my research on understanding which role genetic variations play in each individual patient, potentially making it easier in the future to predict the best therapy to use in a single patient based on his/her own genetic makeup,” said Dr. Cianferoni. “This grant will also make it possible to gather more preliminary data to apply for a NIH grant and continue future research.”

Dr. Cianferoni was also the recipient of an APFED HOPE Grant for up-and-coming researchers in 2009. Her work to help us better understand how EoE develops speaks to both her talent as a clinician-investigator and the relevance of her proposed studies to the mission of APFED, ARTrust™, and the Hope Grant program.

Established in 2013, the Hope APFED/ARTrust™ Pilot Grant Award is the result of a collaborative effort between APFED and the Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Education and Research Organization, Inc. (ARTrust™) to enable investigators from a variety of disciplines to initiate projects relevant to eosinophil-associated diseases, with a focus on the development of new and inventive ideas that are likely to lead to future external funding and better patient outcomes.

“Supporting research efforts is one of the pillars of APFED’s mission,” said APFED Executive Director Mary Jo Strobel. “This pilot grant study is the type of project that will help us to better understand the relationship that specific proteins have with one another when eosinophilic esophagitis is present and how these proteins may affect the disease process. We are thrilled that our partnership with ARTrust™ continues to advance research and make progress toward a cure.”

“The AAAAI, through the ARTrust, has prioritized the funding of young investigators through a variety of mechanisms including its interactions and support of patient advocacy groups such as the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders. The AAAAI applauds Dr. Cianferoni for her continued outstanding research efforts and is proud to help contribute to her future success in defining the pathophysiology and potential treatment for complex disorders involving eosinophils,” said AAAAI President Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI.

APFED’s competitive research grant program, the Hope on the Horizon Research Fund, is supported entirely by donations and has contributed more than $1.6 million for the research of eosinophil-associated diseases since the fund began in 2005.

About American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED)

The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to passionately embrace, support, and improve the lives of patients and families affected by eosinophil-associated diseases through education and awareness, research, support, and advocacy.

About Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Education and Research Organization (ARTrust™)

The ARTrust™, an independent foundation associated with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, helps sustain and advance the future of allergy, asthma and immunology by supporting education and research initiatives to improve patient care.