McLean, VA—Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) launched a multi-million dollar global food challenge on Thursday, March 25, at 11:30 p.m. EDT, according to a press release.
500 billion people globally suffer from food allergies, the release states. 85 million people in the U.S. are impacted, with 32 million suffering from potentially life-threatening conditions. The current gold standard for diagnosing food allergies is the Oral Food Challenge. FARE’s website explains that there are cases when skin prick and blood tests don’t result in definitive diagnosis, in which case they may recommend an OFC: The allergist feeds the patient a suspected food in measured doses, starting with small amounts and graduating to larger doses until either the patient shows signs of an allergic reaction or the allergist can rule out the food. The test is both accurate and safe, when performed by an experienced allergist at a medical facility with the appropriate medications and equipment, according to FARE, but the organization’s press release notes that it nonetheless “can take a physical and emotional toll on pediatric and adult patients.”
Thus, FARE is launching a global, multi-million-dollar, multi-year research competition titled the FAITH Challenge, intended to develop a new, safe, and compassionate diagnostic tool for individuals that suffer from food allergies. Following an initial exploratory period, a $1 million cash prize will be awarded to a team or teams to incentivize researchers to develop a new test,. Teams that demonstrate evidence of progress and present a compelling assay development plan will be eligible to receive additional incentive awards. Research submissions will be reviewed, tracked, and appraised by a panel of judges comprising experts in the fields of food allergy and immunology from both academia and the private sector. The competition will continue through 2024.
The virtual event will be streamed live from the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., wherein representatives of FARE, Kings College, and Aimmune Therapeutics will detail the project to attendees.
Those interested in participating in the competition can find more information, including contact information, here.