June 2, 2020

Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center tapped to join elite research network

The Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center (MHWFAC) at the University of Michigan has been named a Discovery Center of Distinction by FARE, the leading food allergy research, advocacy and education organization.

The prestigious award adds the MHWFAC to the FARE Clinical Network, which was established in 2015 to link top food allergy centers nationwide for collaboration on the development of new therapies for people with food allergy. 

 “We are extremely honored to be a part of this national network organized by FARE, assembling leading food allergy researchers from around the country to focus on finding new solutions and therapies for patients," said James R. Baker, Jr., MD, founding director of the MHWFAC and former CEO of FARE.  "This is a renewal of FARE's clinical network, which has been so important to food allergy science in the past. We are confident that continuing collaborations to advance new discovery will result in novel treatments for this challenging condition." 

 The MHWFAC is a translational research incubator with a faculty of leading food-allergy scientists, headquartered at the Michigan Medicine health system.

 Michigan Medicine’s Food Allergy Clinic was named a Clinical Research Center of Distinction.  Several clinic faculty members also are affiliated with the MHWFAC, including Malika Gupta, MD, Georgiana Sanders, MD, MS, Charles Schuler, MD,  Marc McMorris, MD,  medical director of the Food Allergy Clinic, and James Baldwin, MD, chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology. 

 Henry Ford Health System, which collaborates with the MHWFAC in the recently established Southeast Michigan Food Allergy Collaborative (SMFAC), also received the Clinical Research Center of Distinction.  The SMFAC was formed to promote research collaboration in the region.

The strength of this partnership contributed to the MHWFAC’s success in receiving the Discovery Center of Distinction designation, said Nicholas Lukacs, PhD, scientific director of the MHWFAC.

"We are particularly pleased to be a part of the FARE network given our focus in basic and translational research at the MHWFAC and Henry Ford,” said Lukacs.  “Our combined clinical and basic research expertise in the Southeast Michigan Food Allergy Consortium will put us in the top 10 leading centers in FARE’s network.”

FARE’s announcement brings to 44 the number of research hubs and clinics in its nationwide network. To date, the network sites have participated in more than 45 clinical trials in food allergy including those that led to the development and market release the first ever FDA-approved treatment for peanut allergy in January 2020.

Discovery Centers of Distinction and Clinical Research Centers of Distinction also will participate in multi-center clinical trials and will help to train the next generation of investigators in food allergy

“The goal in expanding the FARE Clinical Network is to usher forward new insights into the epidemiology, burden and biology of food allergy and apply these findings to patient care, a game changer for those living every day with food allergies and still no cure” said Bruce Roberts, Chief Research, Science and Innovation Officer of FARE. “We are looking forward to contributing to the future of food allergy treatment, and the network will be critical to reaching new milestones.”

 About the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center:  Established in 2015 with a $10 million gift from the Weiser family, longtime benefactors of the University of Michigan, the center’s mission is toimprove the lives of food allergic individuals by conducting comprehensive biomedical research that will significantly improve patient care, and to expand food allergy education, research and community services. With a world-class team of faculty, the center takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem of food allergy. As part of Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s nationally top-ranked academic medical center, the MHWFAC benefits from coordination with the Allergy Specialty Clinic and the Food Allergy Clinic, which offer diagnostic and testing services for patients and their families.

 About FARE: FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the world’s leading food allergy advocacy organization and the largest private funder of food allergy research. Our mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. FARE is transforming the future of food allergy through innovative initiatives that will lead to increased awareness, new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation and novel approaches to managing the disease.