2019 NASPGHAN Outstanding EGID Abstract Award Recipients Announced

October 31, 2019

Award recognizes two best-scoring abstracts focused on eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease

(Atlanta, GA)— The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) has announced the two recipients of the 2019 NASPGHAN Outstanding EGID Abstract Awards. The awards were presented at the annual meeting of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) held in Chicago. NASPGHAN is the professional society for pediatric gastroenterologists in North America, serving clinical gastroenterologists and scientists from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The NASPGHAN Outstanding EGID Abstract Awards recognize the best-scoring abstracts on eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs) and the funds help offset travel costs to attend the meeting and present their finding to their peers.

The 2019 NASPGHAN Outstanding EGID Abstract Award recipients are Dr. Kelly Whelan of Fels Institute for Cancer Research & Molecular Biology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, for her abstract titled, “Interleukin-13-Mediated Release of Mitochondrial DNA From Esophageal Epithelial Cells: A Novel Noninvasive Biomarker for Eosinophilic Esophagitis,” and Dr. Anna Henderson of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for her abstract titled, “Monitoring Eosinophilic Esophagitis Disease Activity with Blood Eosinophil Progenitor Levels.”

Dr. Whelan’s team set out to evaluate mitochondrial content in esophageal biopsies and circulating mitochondrial DNA in serum in people with active eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and in those who did have EoE (normal pathology). This was to help determine the significance of mitochondria in EoE pathobiology and disease management. The results of this research showed increased mitochondria in esophageal epithelium of active EoE patients. These findings demonstrate that EoE features increased mitochondria in esophageal epithelium and peripheral circulation. While more research is needed, measuring mitochondrial DNA may serve as a non-invasive biomarker for EoE.

Dr. Henderson’s team aimed to determine whether eosinophil progenitors in the blood could be used as a biomarker to identify pediatric patients with active EoE. In a prospective observational pilot study, peripheral blood samples, symptom history, and laboratory data were collected from pediatric patients undergoing endoscopy for evaluation of EoE on dietary therapy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Their findings suggest that blood eosinophil progenitors levels may be used as a biomarker to detect active EoE disease in patients undergoing food trials and potentially reduce the need for repeated endoscopies. More research is needed to investigate the effects of antihistamines and swallowed steroids on eosinophil progenitors levels in the blood, as well as longitudinal studies to assess the ongoing performance of this potential biomarker.

Dr. Anna Henderson with Dr. Ben Gold, President Elect of NASPGHAN
Dr. Kelly Whelan with her abstract

About the 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. www.apfed.org