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September 5, 2008

Happy 15th Birthday, Institute for
Allergy & Asthma!


The Institute for Allergy and Asthma is probably the one place where peanut-allergy sufferers would feel safe trying the birthday cake. Getting into the spirit, founder Mike Kaliner tells us they recently purchased two gifts: The North American Patch Test for contact dermatitis and an Exhaled Nitric Oxide (ENO) test to closely monitor inflammation in the airways. It’s funny because that’s exactly what we bought him. Guess we’ll just keep it and hang clothes on it. Luckily, Mike still let us visit the Wheaton office.


The new patch test can detect up to 125 different rash-causing chemical irritants (namely, the other 124 that aren’t poison ivy). Previous tests often returned false-positives and were limited to 24 allergens. Just like TV’s Dr. House, the Institute prides itself on taking the most difficult cases, everything from rare immunodeficiency to more common asthma and sinusitis. But while House only sees one patient per episode (hard to fit in more when they all dramatically seize, die, get revived, and are then mistakenly treated for Lupus), Mike and his team see everyone. Over the past 15 years, he estimates they’ve seen 1 out of every 100 people living in the DC area.


Proving that clichés are not reversible, an apple a day does nothing to keep away pesky reporters. In addition to being the largest allergy research center in the Mid-Atlantic, Mike tells us the Institute is an academic facility. They train all allergy Fellows from NIH as well as a portion from G’Town and GW. Mike’s on-staff at both those schools as well as a section chief at Washington Hospital Center. With all those DC-area institutions on his CV, we were determined to discover his one true allegiance. Turns out, it might be the one we didn’t mention. Next month, Mike is proudly addressing the pre-med students at . . . UMD, his alma mater.

Medical writer Curtis Raye loves watching House. Maybe we can all watch it together. No? Oh, sure, well, he's busy that night too. Send him some story ideas to Curtis@Bisnow.com

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