Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a process that regularly exposes the patient to increasing amounts of the foods they are allergic to, with the goal of desensitizing the body and protecting against anaphylaxis due to accidental exposures. Research over the last two decades supports the safety and efficacy of OIT for patients with single and multiple food allergies.
Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) — a process that regularly exposes the patient to increasing amounts of the foods they are allergic to, with the goal of desensitizing the body and protecting against anaphylaxis secondary to accidental exposures.
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Latitude Founder, Kimberley Yates was honored to participate in the first Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) Oral Immunotherapy for Food Allergy Summit in November 2019. Kimberley was able to provide the patient voice and the Latitude team’s clinical perspective in this important discussion of the role of oral immunotherapy in food allergy care.
For more background on oral immunotherapy, we recommend the following published studies and meta-analysis:
IgE-mediated food allergies can be treated with oral immunotherapy and multiple allergens can be treated together. Our allergists work with each patient to weigh the benefits and the burden of the treatment for each allergen. Below are results of clinical studies and relevant reviews for treatment of specific food allergens.
Tree Nuts (Walnut, Pecan, Cashew, Pistachio, Hazelnut, Almond, Brazil Nut, Macadamia)
Fish & Shellfish
Melissa’s son Collin was diagnosed with multiple food allergies as an infant. Collin, age 6, reached maintenance dosing with oral immunotherapy to peanut, cashew, and walnut in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa shares their food allergy journey from diagnosis to treatment, and what success looks like to their family.
Collin has had several allergies since 4 months old. He has milk, egg, and nut allergies. We knew he was allergic to nuts based on a skin test and avoided all nuts at that time. We also had successful food challenges with milk and egg. He tested so clearly for peanut that we didn’t do an oral challenge.
My pediatrician had mentioned oral immunotherapy as an option but we didn’t know where to go to find treatment. I did some research and spoke with an allergist at Stanford Children’s Health who recommended we contact Latitude. It was convenient and close to home.
Collin was just starting Kindergarten and his school was not nut-free and had a policy of separating kids with food allergies. He had to eat at a separate table and his best buddy couldn’t sit with him. These experiences made us look into treatment with oral immunotherapy to help his allergies.
We started desensitization in September 2019 and Collin was able to reach his maintenance dose in May 2020 during the pandemic.
The space at Latitude is great (my work actually focuses on healthcare furnishings in office spaces so I have a professional perspective). That is what really helped us. The entire experience is very different from being confined to a typical exam room. Before Latitude, when my son was a toddler, for a milk challenge, we had to take our own toys and blankets in a typical standard room for patients. I was surprised by that prior experience and set up. In contrast, Latitude has thought through everything when the kids are there for so long for a food challenge or an OIT updose.
The staff is also amazing. Collin was always excited to go to Latitude because the staff are so welcoming. Collin’s favorite experience at Latitude was actually taking the nuts. He’s still excited about his nut powder and eating his nuts. It has been a great experience. His doses include peanut, cashew, and walnut (and provide protection to pistachio and pecans too). We reached maintenance in May and we just returned after 6 months for follow up.
Latitude has really thought through the experience, including the hospitality and everything else. The snacks and drinks were great. And seeing how they dealt with COVID, Latitude had everything marked and the process was very thorough. Having someone outside to greet you is awesome so you don’t have to go to the office. That was great. I wasn’t worried about going there after COVID because I knew the office and I trusted them to take precautions.
It’s been reassuring. Collin knows what he can have and not have. He’s been more aware of nuts. I feel more confident if he goes over to a friend’s house without me. I feel like it’s reduced our worry about him eating his allergen by mistake.
For those who are seeking answers or looking for help with their own or their child’s food allergies, this book goes deep into the research helping us understand the immune system and the allergic response while providing hope for families suffering from food allergies through an in-depth discussion of oral immunotherapy.
As Dr. Nadeau highlights her oral immunotherapy research, she also weaves Latitude founder and CEO, Kimberley Yates’ personal story and their collaboration to create the research center at Stanford throughout the book. Kimberley’s daughter, Tessa Grosso is also highlighted as the first patient to be successfully treated and desensitized to multiple allergens simultaneously in the first-ever multi-allergen oral immunotherapy clinical study. Read more about Tessa’s journey and ongoing advocacy in her own words.
In addition to Tessa’s patient story, Dr. Nadeau highlights Andy Hartman and his transformative clinical trial experience where he was treated for multiple food allergies. Due to their personal experience, Andy’s parents Alan and Kim Hartman work tirelessly on behalf of the food allergy community. As a Latitude Board member, Alan has been very instrumental in the creation of Latitude — ensuring that all families will have access to the care that their son Andy had. Alan and Kim Hartman also chair FARE‘s Board of Governors.
We congratulate Dr. Kari Nadeau on yet another incredible accomplishment and are forever grateful for her partnership as we created and opened the Latitude doors in 2018. We thank her for the impact she has had on our own families and the food allergy community around the world.
Tessa Grosso’s childhood with food allergies was marked with fear and countless visits to the doctor and the ER. When her mom, Kimberley Yates, partnered with Dr. Kari Nadeau to find a solution for Tessa’s severe multiple food allergies, Tessa ultimately became the first person to be treated for multiple food allergies with oral immunotherapy. Today, as a community advocate and an advisor for Latitude, she uses her experience to help create access to care for all food allergy families. She shares her story of transformation in her own words.
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