Welcome to the Fundraising page of
BC Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) Program


Team Allergy at the Mini Sun Run - April 2018
 

New program for treating food allergies

Dr. Edmond Chan’s vision is to create an oral immunotherapy (OIT) program at BC Children’s Hospital. Currently only a limited number of preschool aged children are being offered OIT due to barriers such as staffing, time, and space limitations. The expanded program would provide this cutting-edge treatment to children with food allergies of all ages and make OIT more accessible and safer for British Columbia families, including those of modest means and those concerned about travelling to the US for treatment.  The BCCH OIT clinic would establish clear protocols which would be used by “satellite” OIT clinic partners in other areas of the province.

Dr. Chan would like to apply in BC what has already worked in Quebec, where Dr. Philippe Begin worked with a parent committee to raise funds for an OIT clinic at Sainte Justine Hospital in Montreal. This committee collected donations and held fundraising events to raise over $750,000, which was then matched by the Quebec provincial government, bringing in a total of $1.5 million. The funds raised were enough to renovate and operate their OIT clinic for three years, plus expand the effort to satellite clinics.

Dr. Chan has assembled a committee of BC parents who are eager to bring OIT to BC children. If you know of donors looking for a worthwhile project to fund, or if you would like to assist with fundraising, please contact Allergy Research Coordinator Elaine Hsu at allergyresearch@bcchr.ca. With your help, we can improve the quality of life for those living with food allergies and give hope to the 86,000 children in BC and their families.

Living with food allergies

Food allergy affects approximately 7% of Canadian children, representing 86,000 children in BC, and imposes a substantial psychosocial and economic burden on affected families. Currently, if a food allergy is suspected in a child in BC, the waiting list can be as long as one year to see a pediatric allergist, with an additional 4-6 month wait for an oral food challenge (OFC) to confirm the allergy. An OFC is a procedure that carries a significant risk of an allergic reaction (30-40%) and anaphylaxis requiring epinephrine (15%). Even after the OFC is performed and a child is deemed allergic, currently there is a lack of treatment options. Families are asked to avoid the food and carry an epinephrine auto-injector. We know from clinical experience and extensive research that this is not enough, and many children still experience accidental exposures. Families are afraid of the possibility of allergic reactions and bullying, with some even becoming highly anxious and isolating themselves and their children from society.

Oral immunotherapy

With OIT, a patient ingests a very small amount of their food allergen, first under the care of an allergist, then at home regularly. The allergist gradually increases the amount ingested. If OIT is successful, the patient is able to tolerate more of the allergen, thus greatly reducing the risk of reacting upon accidental exposure. Studies have shown that OIT can significantly increase the patients’ and their families’ quality of life. OIT gives renewed hope to families coping with food allergy.

BC does not currently offer OIT as a standard therapy due to a lack of consensus on safety/efficacy and a lack of resources. Many BC families have chosen to go to the United States or other provinces in Canada for treatment, but there are significant monetary costs as well as travel-associated safety risks with this decision. Other BC families are continuing to avoid their allergens and hoping their children don’t suffer an allergic reaction after an accidental exposure, while desperately seeking an allergist who could provide OIT closer to home.

About Dr. Edmond Chan

Dr. Edmond Chan is an experienced clinician and currently holds the following positions:

  • Head and Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Allergy and Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, at BC Children’s Hospital Allergy Clinic
  • Clinical Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

He has diagnosed and treated thousands of children with food allergy since the beginning of his career as a pediatric allergist in 2005. In 2010, Dr. Chan created the only fellowship training program in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology west of Winnipeg. He is on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) and is on the Executive of the Allergy Section in the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS). He is the youngest recipient of CSACI’s Jerry Dolovich Award (awarded in 2017 for excellence in clinical work, teaching, research, and serving as a leader and role model).

He has a large research program for food allergy and eosinophilic esophagitis. He has also done important research in food allergy prevention, including being the only Canadian representative on an expert panel convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) in the US to create guidelines on the early introduction of peanuts. Since these innovative NIAID guidelines were published in January 2017, Dr. Chan has given numerous media interviews, to educate Canadian parents that early introduction of peanut can help prevent children from developing peanut allergy.

Below are links for more information about Dr. Chan’s work:

http://vancouversun.com/health/family-child/experts-reverse-advice-about-feeding-peanut-to-infants

http://www.med.ubc.ca/the-pediatrician-and-the-peanut/

https://www.bcchf.ca/about-us/our-newsletter/spring-2016/early-intervention/

http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749%2816%2931222-2/fulltext

Thank you for your support.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Please check back for upcoming events, or email Elaine at allergyresearch@bcchr.ca to be notified.

PAST EVENTS:

Team Allergy Pub Night 

Nicole Lee's Run For Food Allergy Research 

Vancouver Sun Run- Team Allergy 

Every element that makes BC Children's Hospital so important to BC's kids would not be possible without the generosity of our supporters and friends. From the tiniest toy that puts a smile on a youngster's face to the groundbreaking pediatric research that's helping to find better treatments and cures for many devastating childhood diseases, your donation helps ensure that the most precious members of our society - our children - receive the best possible care.

On behalf of all of us - patients, parents, staff, and volunteers - from BC Children's Hospital, thank you for your generosity and for caring for our children and their future.