Stories of Entrepreneurship, November 8, 2019

“Allergy Desensitizing” with Dr Margaret Vallen of New England Food Allergy Treatment Center Boston

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New England Food Allergy Treatment Center (NEFATC), LLC is comprised of 2 state-of-the-art modern facilities. Our centers are strategically located in West Hartford, Connecticut and Quincy (Boston), Massachusetts which allows us to service the New England Region and beyond. Founded in 2010, NEFATC has serviced over 2,000+ patients with a desensitization success rate of over 85%. The Centers have the most experienced food allergy specialists in the region, and are the only free standing food allergy centers for oral immunotherapy. Our facilities each have over 3,000 square feet of space which is devoted exclusively to the treatment of food allergies. They are staffed by dedicated nurses and there is a physician on premises at all times. Emergency medical supplies (medication and equipment) are readily available to treat allergic reactions should they occur.

https://nefoodallergy.org/




Interview Transcript:

Hello radio entrepreneurs listeners. My name again is Jeffrey Davis and we’re back in our studios at MTP software in Natick, Massachusetts. MTP software, the leader in sports CRM. Thank you very much. Frank Cincotta, and the whole team and our next guest and other business leader. A little bit different than what we’re used to. Dr Margaret Vallen manager at new England food allergy treatment center. Geez, it’s too bad the mikes are on. I could spend all the time just talking to her about myself, but welcome. Thank you. I’ve been dogged by allergies my whole life, so,

So are a lot of people, unfortunately in all different aspects, right? Environmental, right. Food, drugs, right. Bees,

Bees not beyond. I don’t know. I’ve never been stung. Good. Stay that way. That’s the way I want to stay. Exactly right. Exactly. I don’t want to find out.

No, well you do. If you want to find out he was, want to make sure you find out in somewhere close to medical help if you do have a history of allergies.

So tell us, you know, everybody I know, I see everybody every morning sniffling, sniffling, and I say they go I go, you get a cold. They go, no, I have allergies. It’s so prevalent. So tell us about I guess N E, F A T

NEFACT new England food allergy treatment centers. We are a food center that specifically treats food allergies and basically we are the second office. So NEFACT started about 10 years ago in West Hartford and there are three physicians there, dr Jeffrey factor, Dr Lou Mendelson and Dr. Jason Lee. And their goal was to help treat kids with food allergies. Basically there is no treatment for food allergies, right? There is strict avoidance right there is having your EpiPen auto injector readily available, right. And try to live your life as, as you know, cautiously as possible. So the docs down in West Hartford, they went and learned the protocols for what’s called oral immunotherapy, which is basically desensitizing kids, making them less allergic to the foods they’re allergic to. They went and they learned these protocols from academic institutions and they took these protocols basically to the private practice and that’s, you know, and so over the past 10 years they’ve modified these protocols and they are working.

I didn’t want to interrupt you but you see how you say I was excited. Can you give us an example of what some of these protocols might be? I mean it’s so interesting especially you know, again I say I take a lot of interest in this

Basically similar, but the way you think about it is you come in on day one for what we call your escalation dose. Day one you come in, let’s just say for peanut, say one peanut is 250 milligrams. We’re going to give you hopefully six doses of peanut that day. We’re going to start at 0.1 milligram. We’re going to double it every half hour. We’ll give you a higher dose 0.1 0.2 0.4 0.8 1.5 and three and if you get to that dose then you go home and the next day you come back for three milligrams. So you’re building, so you’re building us very slow. I don’t want to say tolerance, but de sensitization and then every two weeks you are going to come back for an up dose. Now the key here, it’s like what I do with bacteria, I try to eat foods with bacteria. After I went to Africa and saw that it was only Americans getting immunized to go to Africa. I know that’s true. It’s true. It was all six shots to go to Africa and none of the Europeans had shots. No. Well, most of them are probably immune to it anyway, especially the French.

So the key to this treatment, the harder part of it is, is that every day these kids have to eat whatever they’re allergic to. So whether it’s milk, egg, Sesame seed, peanut or tree nuts, we send them home with two weeks of of their dose, and every day they take their dose and for two hours after that dose, they have to restrict their activity. They can’t take a hot shower, they can’t take their end CEDS, their Motrin, and as long as they can. Why the hot shower? Well, all of those things, the hot shower can get the blood moving, right, can get you to some Faisal dilatation, the fever, the fever, greater of a hundred is another thing. And, and we need this food to sit in your stomach and be slowly absorbed. That happens too quickly. If you’re out running around, you might develop highs, you might develop some symptoms and so then we’re off to potentially treat you with some anti-histamines.

So the goal is you sit stills for those two hours, you up dose and hopefully after about 16 up doses, you get to what’s called maintenance. Now that point to say the peanut allergic child is eating for peanut M and M’s a day. And the goal there now is that that child is protected from an accidental ingestion. The child’s not cured, but he’s protected from an accidental ingestion so that if he comes across a some peanut at an ice cream shop, he’ll know he’s okay. She’s okay where she’s okay. Right? Yeah. Better. You said it than me. Well, it’s funny, you know, I, you know, Nathan could be our test if he was young enough because he’s mr allergy. He, every time we go out for the, in the company to eat, Nathan can’t eat what we’re eating when, anytime we have food guests in that bring food for us to demonstrate he can’t eat it. Exactly. And that’s what these assay tool to get help. Well he’s not too old, but ideally it’s younger patients. Right. The younger the better. They started age too, right. And so yes, it is been shown to be a little easier and a little more effective in the younger age groups. But we still have, we have adults, we have, you know, 20 year olds. We have kids in college, you know, they, they also live with that fear of potentially having an accidental ingestion every day here in the 

Here I’m off my other producer. It’s the ying and yang here because Chris consumes some substance everyday, but it actually isn’t real food. It’s comes out of a factory and it’s been, you know, manipulated so many times that we don’t even know if it actually had any origins on earth. So, Oh my goodness. Why don’t we go into the, you know, you come out of Beth Israel, once you give us go in the way back machine and sort of give us your background and how you sort of evolved into this position. Cause this is a profit organization. Correct? Absolutely. So soldiers,

I basically I S I trained as a pulmonary and in in intensive care started that training also did a lot of research in asthma, which took me into the allergy asthma world. So like my dream person. Yeah, that’s right. And so I, I worked in pulmonary and critical care for a while and then had some, had a family found that that was a little difficult to have a family with sort of this intensive care work, somewhat demanding. Right. So then went into more of the allergy world and that’s where I started the Beth Israel Deaconess. I worked there for six years and then I joined a private practice down at South shore, South shore, allergy and asthma down in Weymouth and from there met dr Mendelson and dr factor and Dr. Lee and just recently joined that group a year and a half ago.

And here I am. So I share my time with big difference. Big difference. I’m not a big organization, not with all the layers and and and separate business from medical, which in some ways it’s nice because you can make it what you want, right? You’re not guided by the hospital rules. I mean you follow the rules and you follow, you know, the rules of medicine and the, you know, the, the standards of care. But you can offer things probably that some places can’t. And that’s what the food allergy treatment center is. It is for food allergic patients, whether you’re getting desensitized or we’re doing food challenges. There are some kids that come to us with their information and they actually probably have either outgrown it or maybe never had a true allergy. There’s a lot of false positives in some of the tests we do.

And so we offer some of these kids challenges and now they’re able to eat almonds or maybe peanuts. Now you know, I’ve known a lot of people who had foods almost destroy their life. Would you recommend for some parents where kids are having trouble concentrating, going to school, headaches focusing to get tested for allergies? Also, it’s not just necessarily a drippy nose or drippy sinus, not for food allergies. Usually with a true food allergy, you have more of an itchy mouth, itchy throat, swollen lips, you get hives, they more likely have environmental allergies. Maybe they don’t sleep as well cause they’re stuffy and congested and they’re coughing at night or they’re full, their sinuses are, are full and they have a boggy head and they’re, you know, they have postnasal drip. But no, that would be more environmental than it would be for food allergies.

That’s good to know. I’m glad I asked you that question. See, I didn’t know that. So while again, I’m not the expert, I just take all the drugs. What I tell people is I don’t know how to fix my car. People come to me and say, Oh, I wish you would’ve come to you earlier. I don’t know how to fix my car either. I know, but the idea is that you can’t always figure out that you need to come and see me until somebody helps focus you. Cars can be easier than people. People. That is true. The cars can be a lot easier than people. That is very true, right? It’s more linear. I think. You know, this is great talking to you. We’ve been speaking with dr Margaret Evalyn manager, new England food allergy treatment center in Boston. Margaret if some parent or child is, is listening or can learn about you through us and they want to contact you, how would they do that?

Well, they could, the best thing to do would go to new England food allergy.com. The website is probably the best spot for them to look at what we have, see if they think that it’s might be something they’re interested in and then they can give us a call. We can talk to them on the phone about potentially setting up a consult. They can have their information sent to us and we can decide. You come in for a consult and we look at their numbers. The big thing is we look at their history, their lab values, their skin tests, and depending on where they live, looking at the website can help them decide where the best place. Would it be better? Go to West Hartford? Would it better be come to Boston? But that’s probably the best place to start. Thank you for coming on the show today. See, it wasn’t so tough. It was fantastic. Oh, that’s great. Thank you very much. Remind everybody this is ready. Entrepreneurs more to come after this break.

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