The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City has announced a $10 million gift from Koch Industries executive vice president David H. Koch to create a research program within its Jaffe Food Allergy Institute.
Building on work already under way at the institute, the new David H. and Julia Koch Research Program in Food Allergy Therapeutics will serve as a hub for drug discovery and vaccine development related to food allergy. The gift, one of the largest in the institute's history, also will be used to recruit leading researchers dedicated to the discovery of new food allergy therapeutics.
Among other things, the program will work to develop a preventive shot for peanut allergies. If its theory of using allergenic proteins to develop a "safe shot" is successful, it could then be applied to vaccines for all food allergies. Nearly fifteen million Americans have food allergies, and between 1997 and 2008 the number of children with a peanut allergy, one of the most common and dangerous of all food allergies, more than tripled.
"This generous gift will strengthen Mount Sinai's position as a global leader in food allergy therapeutics," said Jaffe Food Allergy Institute director Hugh Sampson. "Right now, the only recourse for patients who have food allergies is to avoid those foods. This program has the potential to deliver the first therapies and cures for food allergies."