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Understanding Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

AIFA research grant 2015 to support project that focuses on allergy in childhood

Dr Sam Mehr, Children's Hospital at Westmead, NSW.

FPIES is an allergic disorder that occurs in approximately 1 in 10,000 children. The main symptom of FPIES is profuse vomiting, which can be accompanied by pallor, floppiness, hypotension and hypothermia. Most affected children have their first reaction before one year of age. FPIES reactions may be triggered by a variety of foods, although the most common triggers in Australia are staple foods such as cow's milk, rice, oats, soy and eggs.

FPIES research team

This research team, led by Dr Sam Mehr (pictured at rear) with from left: Professor Dianne Campbell, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Dr Katie Frith, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, and Eric Lee, medical student. Their aim is to better understand what genes are switched on in an FPIES reaction to improve diagnosis and treatment. 

They will be looking at tests to predict whether children are still allergic to the food which gave them the FPIES reaction, and how long it takes infants to outgrow their allergy. This is important so that children are not unnecessarily avoiding an important food for a prolonged period of time.

 In 2017 Dr Mehr reported, "Our results support the proposition that FPIES and food reactions in FPIES are underpinned by activation of the innate immune system. Further scrutiny of the molecular drivers of this response and a more detailed analysis of the response dynamics is now underway."