APFED Announces 2020 HOPE Pilot Grant Award Recipient

May 18, 2020

Funded study seeks to develop a diagnostic test to accurately identify food triggers in eosinophilic esophagitis using patients’ esophageal specimens

ATLANTA, GA — The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) is pleased to announce the award of its 2020 HOPE Pilot Grant for promising research studying eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

This year’s HOPE Pilot Grant awardee is Edaire Cheng, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Dr. Cheng will receive $50,000 over a two-year period for her project entitled, ““The Development of the EoE Food Trigger Assay.”

The overall, long-term goal of the project is to develop a clinical procedure that identifies EoE food triggers. Dr. Cheng and her team are seeking to understanding how and where EoE food triggers are recognized in the gastrointestinal tract and initiate inflammation by identifying the cell populations involved in an allergic response. The research also looks to understand why there is a Th2 immune response to food triggers by examining the types of cells involved and how they interact with epithelial cells.

“Community donations to APFED’s research program have enabled us to support novel research of eosinophil-associated disease,” said APFED’s Executive Director Mary Jo Strobel. “After a competitive, peer-review process, we are pleased to be able to fund this research to help Dr. Cheng and her team develop a test to identify EoE food triggers. A timely way to help patients understand if a food is exacerbating their EoE could help them to immediately tailor their diets versus burdensome elimination diets to try to determine a culprit food.”

“Some of our most meaningful connections with one another occur over a meal. Eating together brings sustenance to the body and soul. EoE is a disease that impairs the ability to eat,” shared Dr. Cheng. “As a physician, scientist, and mother, I struggle the most with explaining to my patients that there is no simple test that can identify their EoE food triggers. I am deeply grateful for the support and opportunity to apply my expertise towards meaningful and fulfilling work. I see it as a blessing to be able to devote energy towards this cause. With this work, I hope to bring children living with EoE clinically meaningful enhancements and back to the table with their loved ones.”

APFED’s HOPE on the Horizon Research Program has supported ground-breaking research of eosinophil-associated diseases since the fund began in 2005. To learn about the research the organization has funded, visit apfed.org.

About the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED)

Founded in 2001, 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. apfed.org