C. Scott Little, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology,
is a leading scientist who studies the immune system and has focused his knowledge
and effort on food allergies, particularly peanut allergy. Dr. Little is tackling
what has become a dreadful epidemic for so many children. The goal of his research
is to identify and target key cells of the immune system and use immune modulation
to alter the response of cells. This should result in decreasing the severity of
allergic reactions following exposure to peanuts. In theory, this approach would
be applicable to a number of different food allergies.
FARI research includes a wide range of food allergies.
Dr. Little's experiments in an animal model of peanut allergy are testing cells isolated
from peanut-sensitized (allergic) mice and use immune modulation to decrease the severity
of allergic responses. These allergic responses include IgE production and histamine
release, and the research looks to produce an effective experimental approach that
will initiate preliminary experiments utilizing human cells (white blood cells isolated
from allergic individuals).
FARI was established in 2008, by Lita Indzel Cohen, Esq. who says:
"I am confronting my most important challenge. My little grandson, Jason, is one of thousands of children who is highly allergic
to peanuts. Many other children have severe food allergies. We can never be certain
whether the food these children are eating contains even miniscule traces of peanuts
or other allergens. Further, if Jason even touches peanut products that someone has
left behind, and then he places his hands in his mouth or rubs his eyes, it could
cause an anaphylactic reaction where his throat closes and he cannot breathe. Whenever
I'm with Jason, I must carry Benadryl, two Epi-pens and a cell phone to call 911 for
immediate help. Other children with various food allergies have similar, possibly
fatal reactions. I have made a personal commitment to this new fund. I am asking
you to please join our team established solely to support this important research."
Ms. Cohen of Merion Station, PA, is a former five-term member of the Pennsylvania
House of Representatives (1993-2002) for the 148th District of Montgomery County.
She served for several years a member of the PCOM Board of Trustees.