Summary of the Life Science Committee Meeting
Report by the FACC-PNW:
How to fight against food allergies
by Dr. Erik Wambre and his team
Hosted by:
On Wednesday, 12th February, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) hosted our first Life Science Committee Meeting in Seattle. Twenty-eight representatives, including scientific professionals, attended and learned about How to fight against food allergies from Dr. Erik Wambre.
BRI Executive Director, Dr. Margaret McCormick, gave an overview of BRI at Virginia Mason and introduced Dr. Erik Wambre who conducts research for new diagnostics and therapeutic solutions that address current unmet patient need.
We also wanted to thank Dr. Bernard Khor and Veronique Bajzik
for the visits of the labs.
>> Presentation Overviews:
  • Dr. Margaret McCormick, BRI Executive Director :
> Presentation of Benaroya Research Institute
Dr. Margaret McCormick opened the meeting with an overall presentation of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason which is dedicated to finding cures to eliminate autoimmune and immune system diseases.
  • Erik Wambre, PhD:
> Presentation o f A l lergy program at Benaroya Research Institute
Overview of allergic diseases:
Dr. Erik Wambre started his presentation by talking about allergies as a growing public health issue. Allergic diseases are the fourth most prevalent disease in the world, and affect almost 1 in 5 Americans. Because it is estimated that by 2040 about one in two people will have clinical symptoms of allergies, BRI has decided to develop a specific allergy program to search for new diagnostic and therapeutic solutions.

The biomarker discovery:
He first introduced the allergy program at BRI and their work on a clinical trial. This process began to address current unmet patient need. Their biomarker discovery of the TH2A subset, which is practically absent in individuals without allergies, provided early and actionable clinical information. This discovery can help to optimize the treatment strategy and lead to better diagnostics and disease management.

Desensitization of allergen-specific T-cells:
Dr. Wambre continued by explaining how they succeed to track these bad cells (TH2A cells) to measure immune responses. In treatment, they introduce a little piece of peanut crude extract every 2 weeks hoping that the repeat exposure will exhaust the problematic T-cells.

The tests showed two different results. Some patients became desensitized because little by little the TH2A cells become "exhausted" and stopped inciting an allergic response. Other patients didn't experience effects and continued to be allergic. Because these tests are not risk free for the patients, Dr. Erik Wambre and his team continue to work hard to find solutions for everyone. The good news is that the FDA approved the first treatment for kids with peanut allergies .

Testing new vaccines in the labs:
To do better and avoid those risks, new vaccines are being tested to block the bad effects of the molecules that made the patients sick during allergic periods.
Pictures of the Event
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