I received this in my inbox the other day:
Hi Mrs. High Heels! Welcome to the Southern California Food Allergy Institute (SCFAI). It is our pleasure to inform you that you have reached the top of the waitlist. We are excited for you to join the Tolerance Induction Program at SCFAI – the largest and safest food allergy treatment center of its kind.
We have been on the waitlist for Oral Immunotherapy with one of the most innovative, renowned doctors in the field since April 7th, 2017, so it’s been nearly a year of waiting to see him. They have been working hard to build more efficiencies and whittle down the waitlist because the demand is so high, and have made it their goal to see 350 new patients each year. We were #778 when we signed up, so it sounds like they’re right on target.
In order to get started, I needed to schedule an initial orientation (via teleconference) to set expectations and answer any questions I might have. They also sent me a thorough and informative guide regarding the process as we entered treatment. They were clear, detailed, and upfront … already leaving a stellar first impression and instilling confidence in me as a parent putting my daughter’s life in their hands.
I N T A K E P R O C E S S
The intake process is conducted over 2 visits. A patient’s first appointment typically lasts between 2-3 hours. During that visit, their physician and healthcare team will record the patient’s medical history, review prior medical records, conduct a full examination, and answer questions. Parents should anticipate that their children will undergo laboratory diagnostic testing, skin prick testing, lung function testing, and patch testing, at a minimum. Based on the results of these tests, the medical team will design a specific treatment plan for the child to overcome their food allergic disease.
SoCal Food Allergy conducts the most extensive diagnostics in order to obtain a complete picture of the child’s individual health and readiness for food allergy treatment. The diagnostic testing phase allows the medical team to evaluate at least 300 biomarkers for every patient.
P R E – T R E A T M E N T P R O C E S S
Responsiveness to food treatment depends on a patient’s immunological, pulmonary, skin and gastrointestinal health. Therefore, before starting food immunotherapy, the medical team will diagnose and treat any underlying and connected health conditions that the child may have. If necessary, and based on the intake and diagnostic results, they will create and implement an individualized pre-treatment plan for the child. For example, some patients may undergo sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for environmental allergies.
The successful pre-treatment of underlying and connected conditions is necessary for immunotherapy to take maximum effect. It also results in fewer side effects during food treatment.
W H A T T O E X P E C T
Their tolerance induction program (TIP) is individualized for each patient. Upon completion of the program, patients are able to safely eat a normal U.S. dietary intake of their previously allergic food.
- Office visits are only required every 5-8 weeks.
- Predictive modeling is key to designing what dose of food protein the child will tolerate. SoCal Food Allergy has collected over 45 million patient data points, generating robust analytics that helps them create the safest and most effective treatment for your child.
- Allergic foods are introduced in their clinic under monitoring at the eliciting dose established by their medical team for each patient.
- Home-dosing occurs between visits, including 24/7 on-call support.
- Most foods are treated in approximately 6 weeks, culminating in an in-clinic challenge and “graduation.”
- Patients consume a regular “maintenance” dose of the formerly allergic food after successfully completing a food challenge. The size of the maintenance dose may be reduced after further testing.
- “Graduates” are able to safely eat ANY amount of whatever food they want.
Most SoCal Food Allergy patients achieve full tolerance for each allergenic food in just two clinic visits over a period of 5-8 weeks. After that, patients are able to safely eat that food, just like their friends
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I was just reading an article yesterday about a 12 year old girl who died after having a reaction to a granola bar that her family said she had eaten countless times before (the article didn’t say, but I’m assuming the bar didn’t actually contain nuts, but might have been “made in a facility with nuts” or been cross-contaminated somehow). That is a parent of a child with food allergies’ worst nightmare. Imagine you did everything you could, and a food you thought was safe, somehow still managed to take the life of your child. I don’t even want to think about it. This treatment, if successful, would take a huge weight off our shoulders. That last bullet point above carries with it all my hopes of having a child with a life-threatening allergy – safely eat ANY amount of ANY food. That would be a dream come true.
I look forward to sharing our progress with you as we begin our journey into Oral Immunotherapy.