Once allergic, Julia now enjoys her favorite dairy products
Julia Grumbine, Delaware
Julia was born with milk, egg, tree-nuts and peanut allergies. Last year, after enrolling in Dr. Robert Wood’s study on milk allergies at Hopkins Children's she was cured of her milk allergy. The study sought to prove that increasingly higher doses over time of the allergenic food would eventually teach the immune system to tolerate the allergen and eventually the allergy disappears.
Julia is proof of this theory. To date, there is no known cure or real treatment for food allergies, and many children have to wait and hope they will outgrow their allergy while completely avoiding the foods, which is easier said than done, given that half of all foods in the grocery store contain milk in one form or another. Many children never outgrow their food allergy and in a few the allergic reactions can be fatal, so Dr. Wood’s research is a glimmer of hope that there might be another way to treat these allergies.
Julia's dad Rodney said “When we first heard Dr. Wood speak at a conference about his milk allergy study, we thought ‘let’s roll the dice and see what happens, what do we have to lose?’”
The gamble paid off. Currently, Dr. Wood is using the same method in a group of children with egg allergies, to see if he can achieve similarly promising results. If Julia gets cured of her egg allergies, she’ll be a medical first—the first child to be cured of two types of food allergies by oral immunotherapy. Julia is very excited, especially because after getting rid of her milk allergy she now knows there is a real chance that she might successfully overcome her egg allergies, and begin to eat pancakes and doughnuts made with real eggs.
Julia now enjoys ice cream and cheese on her pizza, her favorite dairy products. Moreover, she must actually make sure she consumes milk every day to help her body maintain her tolerance to milk. She makes sure she has real milk with her cereal every morning.
She still comes to Hopkins Children’s every two weeks for food challenges.