Advancing towards a Cure
Scientists are currently trying to find a cure for food allergies. However, right now there is no cure. You can help in many different ways. For example, you can participate in a clinical trial or make a donation. Below are some examples of how you can help contribute to the food allergy community
Clinical trials are studies to test new treatments to ensure that they are safe and effective. These studies are critical to prevent more dangerous food allergy reactions from occurring. Clinical trials are conducted at medical centers. However, a clinical trial cannot be started until all of the required material and equipment has been purchased. Non-profit organizations may donate along with pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.
You can choose to participate in a clinical trial. If you volunteer to participate in a trial, you can make a difference in many lives and, perhaps, even your own. However, participation may also include risks. If you are interested, consult your family members, your doctor, and do some research to understand the clinical trial before you volunteer.
To find allergy clinical trials, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has partnered with ResearchMatch. A registry is maintained by Vanderbilt University to connect patients with food allergies to new clinical studies across the country. Visit this website, www.researchmatch.org to learn more.
Safety and Steps
Clinical trials have to meet safety standards. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) must approve of the study design (also known as the protocol). These are detailed guidelines that describe the objectives and length of the trial, the type of patients who may participate, the schedule of tests and procedures, the medications and dosages to be studied, and so on.
There are several steps of a Clinical Trial, as follows:
Phase 1: Clinical trials test the experimental therapy in a small group of people (20-80) to evaluate its safety and identify side effects.
Phase 2: Studies test the therapy in a larger group of patients (100-300) to determine how well the treatment works and to further evaluate safety.
Phase 3: Trials involve a large number of participants (1,000-3,000). These studies confirm the treatment's effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare the experimental treatment to standard therapies, and collect information about safety. Successful completion of a Phase 3 study is usually the final step before the sponsor applies for FDA approval to market the therapy.
Phase 4: Trials are conducted after the treatment is approved by the FDA and marketed to the public. These studies provide more information about a therapy's long-term benefits and risks, its impact on patients’ quality of life, its costs relative to its effectiveness, and how it compares to other therapies on the market.