APFED Announces Recipient for 2021 Hope Pilot Grant Award

July 26, 2021

New research project will investigate the role of detergents in the pathogenesis of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

 The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) is pleased to announce that Benjamin L. Wright, MD will be the recipient of the organization’s HOPE Pilot Grant award this year.  Dr. Wright, an allergist and clinical immunologist at Mayo Clinic Arizona and Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, will receive $50,000 in funding from APFED over a two-year period for his promising research study titled “The Role of Detergents in the Pathogenesis of Eosinophilic Esophagitis.”

Dr. Wright’s research will explore the potential effects of common household detergents on the esophageal mucosal barrier. The mucosal barrier is the specialized tissue that lines or coats the esophagus and protects it from potentially injurious agents. This layer is leaky in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), which allows foods to stimulate inflammation, including eosinophil infiltration.

To test the project’s hypothesis, Dr. Wright’s team will evaluate the effects that detergents have on esophageal tissue in vitro and compare the results with samples obtained from EoE subjects and controls. Researchers will employ several novel techniques in this study, including the minimally invasive esophageal string test to collect samples.

The goal of the project is to better understand the mechanisms of EoE development and gain a specific understanding of how environmental factors such as detergents may contribute to this process.

“We are excited to support Dr. Wright’s project and are eager to learn the findings,” said APFED Executive Director Mary Jo Strobel. “We are grateful for the generous donors who recognize the importance of investing in research that helps us to better understand eosinophil-associated diseases Unlocking answers as to how EoE might develop brings us closer to curing the condition.”

“I am humbled by this award and indebted to my colleagues, mentors, and family whose efforts and sacrifice have enabled this research,” shared Dr. Wright.  “I am also grateful for my patients who serve as a constant source of motivation and inspiration to understand and cure EoE.”

APFED’s competitive research grant program, HOPE on the Horizon, is supported entirely by donations.  Grant recipients are selected through a competitive peer-reviewed process. Applicants are invited to submit a novel research idea that shows promise and conforms to the APFED mission to improve the lives of those living with eosinophil-associated diseases. These proposals are then reviewed and scored by an ad-hoc panels of expert reviewers, which guides APFED to select the most impactful projects with innovative ideas to fund. Successful grantees demonstrate a plan and the potential to receive subsequent, larger funding for their project.

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. apfed.org