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Program Update: Pediatric Immunology

11/01/2008

UCLA Department of Pediatrics - Division of Peds Immunology, Allergy and RheumatologyThe Division of Pediatric Immunology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA offers highly advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services in the areas of allergy, immune deficiency and rheumatology. At UCLA, the division includes both rheumatology and immunology, a structure that allows physicians to evaluate patients from the standpoint of a disordered and disregulated immune system without artificially dividing patients into those with immunology problems and those with joint problems.

Oftentimes, UCLA is able to offer services that are not available elsewhere due to its highly qualified medical specialists and bench-to-bedside research programs.

Clinical Care

The Division of Pediatric Immunology offers a full range of clinical services. Individual clinical programs often involve specialists from across disciplines, taking advantage of the wealth of expertise available at UCLA in all areas of medicine.

Food Allergy Clinic

UCLA Department of Pediatrics - Division of Immunology, Allergy and RheumatologyThe UCLA Food Allergy Clinic harnesses the skills and expertise of the allergist, gastroenterologist, immunologist and dietician to diagnose and treat everything from common food allergies to highly challenging cases. In addition to frequently used tools such as the skin test, radioallergoimmunosorbent (RAST) blood test, and dietelimination test, the allergy team uses the double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC), the gold standard for diagnosing a food allergy. While other tests can establish increased probability for food allergy, only the DBPCFC can confirm or rule out a food allergy with absolute certainty. Only a few medical facilities offer the DBPCFC.

Pediatric Eosinophilic G.I. Disorders Clinic

The UCLA Pediatric Eosinophilic G.I. Disorders Clinic is the only clinic in the western United States specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis, or EE. This little-understood disease is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of eosinophils in the lining of the esophagus. Due to the similarity of their symptoms, EE is often mistaken for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

At UCLA, a gastroenterologist, allergist and dietician evaluate each patient. If EE is suspected, an endoscopy will be performed to check for eosinophils. Following an EE diagnosis, the team determines if the patient would benefit most from dietary or medical management. Some patients may be eligible for UCLA pilot studies investigating newer therapies such as anti-interleukin-5 antibodies.

UCLA Department of Pediatrics - Division of Peds Immunology, Allergy and RheumatologyChronic Sinusitis Clinic

Young people with chronic sinusitis often undergo sinus surgery only to find themselves back in the operating room when the condition recurs. Specialists at the UCLA Chronic Sinusitis Clinic seek to break this cycle by pinpointing and treating the underlying cause. Many patients with chronic sinusitis are found to have mild immunodeficiencies, such as impaired pneumococcal antibody response. Often, these conditions can be successfully treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) or antibiotic prophylaxis.

The Jeffrey Modell Foundation Diagnostic Center for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases

The Jeffrey Modell Foundation supports 35 diagnostic and research centers worldwide, each dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with primary immunodeficiency (ID) disease. UCLA is home to Southern California’s only Jeffrey Modell Foundation Diagnostic Center.

Primary ID is a new area of investigation. While some conditions are well characterized, new immunodeficiencies are described each year. The Modell Center at UCLA is unique in that it offers diagnostic evaluation for patients with these newly described immunodeficiencies.

UCLA Department of Pediatrics - Division of Peds Immunology, Allergy and RheumatologyEczema

The UCLA Skin Allergy/Eczema Clinic offers help for the eczema patient whose pediatrician has run out of treatment options. The clinic’s team of immunologists, allergists, dermatologists and nutritionists isolate the cause of the child’s eczema and help manage the condition. The eczema team has extensive experience with novel therapies that are often not available from practitioners in the community.

Clinical Trials

As a leading research institution and an active center for clinical studies, UCLA can often offer patients access to leading-edge therapies available at few other centers. When appropriate, enrollment in clinical trials is sometimes a way for patients to gain access to new medications and treatments before they are approved for use in the general population.

For information about ongoing trials at UCLA, call the study coordinator at (310) 825-6481.

Lupus and Rheumatology

In addition to the full range of diagnostic and management services for children with autoimmune/autoinflammatory disorders, UCLA offers a clinic dedicated to pediatric lupus. This clinic is staffed by nephrologists who work in tandem with rheumatologists.

The Lupus Clinic offers all standard therapies as well as some that are not widely used. Many young patients and family members benefit greatly from attending UCLA’s pediatric lupus support group, which meets at the same time as the Lupus Clinic.

UCLA also offers cutting-edge therapies for juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients for whom traditional therapies fail.

Program Faculty

Talal Chatila, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Division Chair

E. Richard Stiehm, MD
Professor of Pediatrics

Robert Roberts, MD
Professor of Pediatrics

Deborah McCurdy, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Maria Garcia Lloret, MD
Adjunct Instructor

Sean McGhee, MD
Clinical Instructor

Associated Physicians

Ora Yadin, MD
Assistant Professor (Nephrology, Lupus Clinic)

Mini Mehra, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor (Gastroenterology, Eosinophilic G.I. Disorders Clinic)

Diana Saikali, RD
Dietitian

UCLA Department of Pediatrics Division of Immunology
10833 Le Conte Ave.
MDCC 12-430
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1752
Phone: (310) 825-6481
Fax: (310) 825-9832





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