Researchers believe they’ve identified a potential marker for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a painful food allergy disease. This could potentially remove the need for endoscopy procedures to examine whether a food triggers disease activity.

The researchers’ findings have been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and was conducted by scientists working in the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“Adults and children with EoE can be on highly restricted diets of formula alone or only a few foods,” says Patricia C. Fulkerson, MD, PhD, senior study author. “One of the major obstacles to families participating in studies to introduce foods back into the child’s diet is the need for endoscopy after each food is tried to see whether or not it triggers disease activity.”

Making diagnosis and treatment easier is the goal.

The findings of the study could mean a reduction or elimination of endoscopy (tubes down the mouth) to take esophageal eosinophil counts. EoE is a lifelong disease, so monitoring is required for their entire lives, even with effective diet and steroidal treatment regimen. Updates to treatment are usually accompanied by additional endoscopic exams.

The researchers, however, have found a “precursor cell” that could be a marker or indicator of increased eosinphil in the esophagus. Previously, blood tests for eosinophil were proven ineffective as an indication of disease.

“Adults and children with EoE can be on highly restricted diets of formula alone or only a few foods,” says Patricia C. Fulkerson, MD, PhD, senior study author. “One of the major obstacles to families participating in studies to introduce foods back into the child’s diet is the need for endoscopy after each food is tried to see whether or not it triggers disease activity.”

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