HomeAdvocacy and research – January 2024

Advocacy and research – January 2024

January 12, 2024

Discover how our advocacy is helping to shape the flow of information regarding medicine and health products in Canada. Plus, learn how you can participate in a research opportunity for children with tree nut allergy involving immunotherapies.

Advocacy in action: Being your voice at the table! 

In June 2023, we participated in a consultation led by Health Canada on improving access to drugs, like epinephrine auto-injectors, and other health products in Canada. The aim of the consultation was to collect feedback from key Canadian stakeholders to help inform the development of a plan to support building a more resilient supply of drugs and other health products in Canada.  

Health Canada recently published their findings in a report, “What we heard: Improving access to drugs and other health products in Canada”, which highlights the key recommendations from the various stakeholders, including Food Allergy Canada.  

From our recommendations, Health Canada included the following in their report: 

  • Patient advocacy groups play a significant role in letting patients know about a shortage and educating them on keeping an adequate supply on hand and about alternative medicine and therapies. 
  • Patient advocacy groups need to be included in all shortage roundtables, advisory bodies and working groups to ensure that solutions meet patient care needs. 
  • Ensure information on shortages of non-prescription drugs and infant formula are communicated. 

The next phase of work will focus on Health Canada developing a plan that will consider the input provided in this report. We will continue to monitor the progress being made and provide additional updates as they become available.  

You can count on us to be your voice at the table. 

Research study: Call for participation for children with tree nut allergy  

A research study is underway in Hamilton, Ontario. The researchers are seeking children aged 1-16 years who have been diagnosed with tree nut allergy, specifically to cashew, pistachio, walnut, pecan, almond, or hazelnut.

The study is testing different immunotherapies to desensitize a person with tree nut allergy by repeated exposures to very small amounts of tree nut through sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) or low-dose oral immunotherapy (IdOIT). SLIT is when a food allergen is placed under the tongue and OIT is when a food allergen is eaten.

Food Allergy Canada is involved in this research through a patient/caregiver partnership where we provide input on the design of the research, review research outcomes, and ensure the patient perspective is considered. 

Following is an announcement from the research team with more details. To learn more about the study and if your child is eligible to participate, complete this form or email eia@mcmaster.ca.

Please share with others whose children have tree nut allergy.

From the research team:

Now enrolling: TRADE study for children with tree nut allergy

Does your child have tree nut allergy and hopes to reduce their reactions to tree nuts? Your child may be eligible for our study to trial treatments for tree nut allergy. TRADE is a randomized trial which uses sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) or low-dose oral immunotherapy (ldOIT) compared with a placebo to assess the ability of different immunotherapies to desensitize tree nut allergy. 

Eligibility criteria:

  • Children between 1-16 years old 
  • Diagnosed with tree nut allergy, specifically cashew, pistachio, walnut, pecan, almond, or hazelnut
  • Skin prick test of 3mm or greater or a serum tree nut-specific IgE of greater than 0.35kUA/L 
  • Other eligibility criteria will apply

Participation in the study involves:

  • Taking the study treatment for 52 weeks
  • At least 10 study visits to the clinic, which is located in McMaster Children’s Hospital, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton ON

Potential benefits of this study include:

  • Decreasing the participant’s reactivity to tree nuts after accidental ingestion and altering the natural progression of tree nut allergy by modifying the underlying immune response
  • The participant may become clinically and immunologically tolerant to the tree nut
  • Addressing unmet needs to establish safe tree nut allergy immunotherapy protocols and helping doctors and scientists to better understand food allergy

TRADE is led by Dr. Derek Chu MD PhD FRCPC at McMaster University Hamilton, Ontario and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario Medical Association, and Hamilton Health Sciences.

To learn more about TRADE and eligibility criteria, please complete this form or email eia@mcmaster.ca.

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