Cincinnati Children's receives NIH grant renewal for collaborative research into eosinophilic disorders

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has received a 5-year, $7.57 million grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue leading a consortium of organizations from around the country that will conduct clinical research into eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. The Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers (CEGIR) also will train investigators in how to conduct clinical research.

Eosinophilic disorders are chronic inflammatory disorders. These conditions are thought to be triggered by allergic hypersensitivity to certain foods and an over-accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract of white blood cells called eosinophils (part of the body's immune system). Eosinophilic disorders can cause a variety of gastrointestinal complaints, including reflux-like symptoms, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, tissue scarring, fibrosis, the formation of strictures, diarrhea, abdominal pain and failure to grow in childhood.

When inflammation is in the esophagus, the condition is known as eosinophilic esophagitis. When it is in the stomach, the condition is called eosinophilic gastritis. When it is in the stomach and the esophagus and/or intestines, it is called eosinophilic gastroenteritis. When it is in the colon, it is known as eosinophilic colitis. In the previous grant, researchers studied inflammation in the esophagus, stomach and colon. The new grant will focus on these three conditions in addition to eosinophilic gastroenteritis.

These are painful, chronic diseases that make it difficult and sometimes impossible for individuals to eat many or all foods. I look forward to continuing to advance the understanding and better treatment of these diseases by collaborating with outstanding researchers, patients and patient advocacy groups, as well as training the next generation of clinicians and researchers who will be experts in these diseases."

Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, director of the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders at Cincinnati Children's and principal investigator on the grant

In addition to Dr. Rothenberg, the grant will be orchestrated by Glenn Furuta, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Diseases Program at Children's Hospital Colorado and professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

CEGIR also includes clinical researchers from Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Mayo Clinic; University of Arkansas; University of California; Rady Children's Hospital; Lurie Children's Hospital; Northwestern University; the National Institutes of Health; Tufts Medical Center, the University of Colorado at Denver; University of Illinois; University of Pennsylvania; University of North Carolina; University of Utah; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and Bern University in Switzerland.

These sites have expertise in relevant clinical specialties, including gastroenterology, allergy, immunology and pathology. They also have the ability to integrate children and adult patients into the consortium. These sites are considered the major centers working on these diseases and provide clinical care to patients with the diseases being studied, according to Dr. Rothenberg.

The CEGIR will also work with a number of strong patient advocacy groups, including the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders, the Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease, and the Eosinophilic Family Coalition.

"Collaborative research is critical for progress in understanding and treating these rare diseases," says Dr. Furuta. "Much has been accomplished with the support of patients and patient advocacy groups, our professional networks, and clinicians and researchers from around the globe. These conditions are a global health concern, and we look forward to continuing our work with everyone to improve the patient's lives. We are so fortunate to continue these collaborations through this consortium and the stellar infrastructure and processes of the Rare Disease Research Network."

The NIH grant (U54AI117804) funding will continue to further research and develop clinical expertise, train clinical investigators, pilot clinical research projects, and provide access to information related to eosinophilic disorders for basic and clinical researchers, physicians, patients and the lay public. The NIH grant is funded by the Office of Rare Diseases Research, which is part of the NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, as part of the Rare Disease Research Network. The award is also funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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