In This Section

Peanut Allergy First, Support for Teen Resilience, Healthcare Disparities and Pain Treatment, Pediatric Medical Device Awards

Published on February 14, 2020 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 4 months 2 weeks ago


Subscribe to be notified of changes or updates to this page.

8 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
In the News


By Barbara Drosey

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is celebrating FDA approval of a breakthrough allergy desensitization therapy and a grant that will help teens overcome trauma and associated mental illness. The CHOP-based Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium awards seed grants for new device development, and researchers identify factors influencing pain treatment for African-American patients in the United States. Read more about these stories, and catch up on what you may have missed on Cornerstone.

Breakthrough Treatment for Peanut Allergies

The Allergy Program at CHOP was one of the research sites for the breakthrough drug PalforziaTM, a first-of-its-kind treatment for peanut allergies that was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The oral immunotherapy works by desensitizing children to peanut protein. By ingesting a controlled amount of peanut protein in the medication each day, individuals can slowly build up their tolerance. Over time, many children see a reduction in the severity of their allergic reactions, allowing them to live life with more confidence and without the risk of an anaphylactic reaction.

“This therapy is the first FDA-approved therapy for desensitizing children and teens with peanut allergies,” said Jonathan Spergel, MD, PhD, section chief of CHOP’s Food Allergy Center. “While it’s not a cure, it will allow patients to live their lives with less fear of having a serious or fatal reaction to accidentally ingesting peanut protein.”

Oral immunotherapy is just one type of allergy treatment researchers at the Allergy Program at CHOP are studying. Designated as a Frontier Program in 2018, the Allergy Program at CHOP is also testing skin patches that could desensitize children with peanut and milk allergies. The FDA is expected to review these treatments later this year.

Watch Dr. Spergel and Terri F. Brown-Whitehorn, MD, attending physician in the Food Allergy Center, talk with the media about the research that led up to the FDA approval and how oral immunotherapy can help children with peanut allergies on CBS News, The Huffington Post, 6ABC, Fox29, Philly Voice, MetroKids, and Scripps National News.

Find out more in this CHOP press release.

CHOP Awarded Support for Growing Resilience in Teens Project

CHOP received a $750,000 grant through TD Bank’s TD Ready Challenge. The funding will support CHOP’s Growing Resilience in Teens (GRIT) project, a proactive trauma screening and referral intervention to buffer children against traumatic events and combat the mental health crisis in the West Philadelphia community.

GRIT is part of CHOP’s Healthier Together initiative that aims to tackle the social determinants of health as a path to improving the well-being of children. The project will be located in West Philadelphia, an area where the 2019 Southeastern Pennsylvania Community Health Needs Assessment identified trauma and chronic stress as priority health issues.

“There is abundant and compelling evidence that childhood trauma and exposure to family and community violence lead to increased risk of mental illness,” said Alonzo South, Senior Director of Community Engagement at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “With the help of this grant, GRIT intends to break this link between trauma and mental illness. Our goal is to increase the emotional well-being of children and their families by addressing trauma through community treatment and prevention.”

The GRIT project will implement a three-fold approach to improve the health of vulnerable children and families through: 1) screening and assessment for trauma exposure and symptoms, 2) referring patients and families to evidence-based, resiliency building interventions that mitigate the effects of trauma, and 3) assigning community health workers to strengthen and build family engagement.

Read more about the grant award in CHOP’s press release.

Multiple Factors Influence Pain Treatment of Injured African-American Patients

A study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing explores factors that influence provider pain treatment decision-making and the receipt of pain management by injured African-American patients in the United States.

A team of researchers including Catherine McDonald, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior fellow at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP and assistant professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn colleagues searched PubMed, SCOPUS and CINAHL for articles published between 2007-2017 using the search terms “African American,” “Black American,” “race,” “pain treatment,” “pain management,” and “analgesia,” ultimately including 20 studies in their review.

The results of their paper, “Mixed Studies Review of Factors Influencing Receipt of Pain Treatment by Injured Black Patients,” indicate that healthcare provider characteristics, racial myths about pain sensitization, and assumed criminality all impact provider treatment decision-making and the receipt of pain treatment by this patient population.

This review addresses racial disparities in pain management by focusing on the factors that impact the receipt of pain treatment by injured African-American patients.

These findings will have an impact on providers who prescribe pain treatment and on the patients they treat, according to researchers. The study results suggest that assumed criminality of certain patients can negatively impact care, and will help inform further research in healthcare disparities, prompting providers to examine their assumptions about the patients in their care.

CHOP-based Consortium Awards Seed Grants for Pediatric Medical Device Development

The Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium (PPDC) announced its latest round of seed grants to companies developing medical devices for children. The consortium awarded $50,000 each to four projects. The new round of awards is the seventh by the PPDC.

The devices in development are a less-invasive method of inserting pacemaker leads for cardiac therapies, a novel bioprosthetic pulmonary valved conduit for congenital heart surgery, a mechanically customized physical therapy system, and a novel device to improve the outcomes of pediatric hip surgery.

Funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the PPDC provides know-how and seed funding to help innovators translate promising ideas into commercial medical devices for use in children. The PPDC is a collaboration involving CHOP, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and sciVelo of the University of Pittsburgh, Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania.

“The sponsored projects chosen for support this year represent novel approaches to address major unmet needs for pediatric medical devices,” said Robert Levy, MD, CHOP cardiologist and PPDC principal investigator.


Catch up on our headlines from our Jan. 31 In the News:

  • MOMS2 Study Findings
  • Proof-of-Concept Program Award
  • Single Ventricle Heart Defect Research
  • Welcoming Patrick Grohar, MD, PhD, Sarcoma Expert
  • “Breaking Through” Podcast Featuring Beverly Davidson, PhD


Keep up with our news, stories, and updates in real time by following us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Or subscribe to our newsletter to get an email sent every other Friday by signing up here.