Anyone who has ever gotten something stuck in their throat while eating, however briefly, knows just how much panic can set in and how quickly. For people diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), this can happen nearly every time they eat. Benjamin Davis, MD, PhD, has been thinking a lot about EoE for more than a few years. Earlier this month, his article, “Pathophysiology of Eosinophilic Esophagitis” was published by Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology. Dr. Davis, a Clinical Assistant Professor in Immunology, is the sole author on this overview of the chronic inflammatory disease, which is characterized by fibrosis, swelling, and smooth muscle dysfunction.
Dr. Davis began studying EoE while completing his PhD and a fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at the University of Cincinnati, but he first became intrigued by dysregulation of the immune system during medical school at the University of Iowa. “I was fascinated with this system that had evolved very particular and intricate mechanisms to deal with foreign threats, yet seemingly tolerate itself. I then became even more fascinated with how the immune system seems to be becoming generally more dysregulated over the last half century or so.” Although some of the increases in EoE over the last twenty years may be due to improvements in diagnosis, Dr. Davis notes that its prevalence follows the same increases that other allergic diseases have. More than just a review of the disease’s growth, Dr. Davis’s article is comprehensive, providing detailed explanations for the basic mechanisms at work as well as the future directions research into the disease is heading.
Not long after returning to the University of Iowa as faculty, Dr. Davis developed a clinical service focused on EoE and other eosinophilic disorders. He has also begun a partnership with pediatric gastroenterology to staff an EoE clinic. This expanded clinic is currently in the planning stages, but hopes to meet the needs of EoE patients who can benefit from the coordinated care of an allergist and gastroenterologist.