Research and Clinical Trials

The Division is actively involved in basic science (laboratory), clinical and translational research.

Basic science research is conducted on the campus of the University of California, San Diego in the labs of Drs. Aceves, Horner and Hoffman, whose work has been published in major journals, including the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Gastroenterology, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Immunology, and the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

We are currently recruiting for a study on oral immunotherapy for peanut allergies. Click here for more information.

Research Activities

Seema Aceves, M.D, Ph.D., received funding from the National Institutes of Health to study the pathophysiology of eosinophilic esophagitis. For more on her research, visit http://aceveslab.ucsd.edu.

Seema Aceves, M.D, Ph.D.,  Ranjan Dohil, M.D., and John Bastian, M.D., (Divisions of Allergy/Immunology and Gastroenterology) created a novel formulation of an oral corticosteroid to treat eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a severe throat disorder of increasing prevalence that affects both children and adults worldwide. In order to create a formulation that would stick to the esophagus, the physicians mixed sucralose/maltodextrin (Splenda®) with the corticosteroid budesonide. When used in a clinical trial with children, the drug (oral viscous budesonide or OVB) had dramatic results – reducing symptoms and inflammation in the esophagus in 87 percent of patients compared with a placebo. The results were published in Gastroenterology, the leading journal in its field.

The original OVB mixture was patented by UC San Diego and then licensed to a pharmaceutical company. A ready-to-use formulation was recently developed and is now being studied in its second national clinical trial in both children and adults. It is the hope that these clinical trials will result in the first Food and Drug Administration-approved EoE therapy.

Hal Hoffman, M.D., received NIH funding to study the role of cyropyrin, a molecule he discovered, in various inflammatory states. He is also actively involved in gene discovery of rare diseases.

Anthony Horner, M.D., studies the early events in the ontogeny of the allergic state.

Stephanie Leonard, M.D., director of the Food Allergy Center, conducts clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of food allergies. The Food Allergy Center is currently participating in an international peanut allergy study, testing a skin patch that contains tiny amounts a peanut. The hope is that, over time, the participants will become desensitized.

For detailed information on research activities of our team members, visit the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics website.