This past Thursday and Friday, Drs. Sarita Patil, Yamini Virkud, Perdita Permaul and I represented our Food Allergy Center at the first steering committee meeting for the third iteration of the NIAID-sponsored Consortium for Food Allergy Research (CoFAR) that formally began March 1, 2017.
This is the first time that a Boston center has been part of CoFAR and it comes about as a result of our successful application to a call for responses from individual medical centers made by NIAID last year. The other six centers around the country are Johns Hopkins, UNC, Mount Sinai, Stanford, Univ of Arkansas, and National Jewish. All of the centers except MGH/Partners and Stanford have been part of CoFAR in the first two rounds.
The NIH, almost entirely through NIAID, funds more than 30 million per year in food allergy research and much more additional basic research on mechanisms of the allergic immune response that may ultimately provide insight into food allergies.
This is not enough, for sure, and other forms of support are also critical — particularly for those higher risk sorts of projects that may lack the preliminary data or challenge existing dogma and often do not fare as well with peer review. However, it is the single greatest source of funding for food allergy research as it is for so many areas of health research.
We are proud to be joining CoFAR and extremely grateful to the US public for supporting NIH and other publically funded research.