Food allergy is a disease of global impact associated with life-threatening reactions, increasing prevalence, and limited options for treatment and prevention. Despite significant research advances, many remaining questions must be addressed before global implementation of impactful therapeutic and prevention options for patients affected by food allergy can be realized. The Consortium for Food Allergy Research (CoFAR) was formed to address these unresolved questions through its collaborative research network of Clinical Research Units (CRU) with experience and expertise in food allergy clinical trials. To this end, the Arkansas Center for Food Allergy Research (ArCOFAR) builds on a >30 year foundation of excellence, expertise, and leadership in food allergy and is prepared to immediately address the overarching program goals of CoFAR. The ArCOFAR site is ideally-positioned to function as a CoFAR CRU through contribution of our extensive research experience and by capitalizing on our population's unique geographic and patient demographic characteristics. Our efforts will be directed by the central hypothesis that ArCOFAR will enable the participation of diverse groups of food allergic individuals in expertly designed, innovative clinical trials of the highest quality and scientific value. Our overarching goal is to provide a unique research platform to measurably improve the lives of children and adults with food allergy. This goal will be accomplished by the design and implementation of innovative clinical studies and therapeutic trials via high-quality, high-impact research collaboration. Our hypothesis will be tested by executing four specific aims: 1) Leverage established expertise in food allergy research as a platform to expand clinical trials development in immunotherapeutics through integrated research efforts with other CoFAR CRUs; 2) Apply institutional and community resources to expand ArCOFAR CRU capacity for population-based research in food allergy, including participation in birth cohort and longitudinal outcome studies; 3) Link current inter- and intra-institutional resources to broaden the scope of clinical research participation to include a more diverse population of food allergic patients; 4) Promote career development of new and early career food allergy researchers through active recruiting and mentoring of new faculty and linking established programmatic and network resources. In addition, our cutting-edge clinical trial of walnut oral immunotherapy will address an unmet need in management of tree nut allergy. Further, ArCOFAR's multi-disciplinary team with established expertise and international leadership in food allergy clinical trials, will expand clinical research through the development and testing of novel immunotherapeutics and implementation of cohort studies, while providing mentoring and career development opportunities to early and new career investigators. The outcome of this proposal will be to improve the health of children and adults with food allergy in Arkansas and beyond while advancing the mission of CoFAR to fundamentally change the field of food allergy.
Despite significant clinical and research advances in the field of food allergy, many remaining questions must be addressed before global implementation of impactful therapeutic and prevention options for patients affected by food allergy can be realized. The Arkansas Center for Food Allergy Research (ArCOFAR) builds on a >30 year foundation of excellence, expertise, and leadership in food allergy and is ideally positioned to function as a Clinical Research Unit within the Consortium for Food Allergy Research. We will contribute our extensive research experience and capitalize on our population's unique geographic and patient demographic characteristics to immediately address the overarching program goal of the Consortium for Food Allergy Research to improve the health of children and adults living with food allergy.