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Real Talk: Eosinophilic Diseases

Jan 25, 2022

Eosinophil-related diseases are a relatively recent discovery in the medical field, and patient advocacy in this area has an even shorter history. In this episode, host Ryan Piansky, guest host Beth Allen, and world-renowned expert Dr. Gerald Gleich discuss eosinophils, the evolution of patient advocacy, and progress within this field.   Dr. Gerald Gleich is a Professor of Dermatology and Medicine at the University of Utah and has had a lifelong professional commitment to understanding eosinophils. During his tenure, he established a research laboratory for allergic diseases at the Mayo Clinic and Foundation where he was a professor of medicine and immunology. He has contributed to more than 600 scientific articles and is a member of APFED’s Board of Directors.


Co-host Beth Allen is the parent of a child who was diagnosed with eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease at a time when very little information about these conditions were available. She co-founded APFED in 2001 and is now serving as Senior Director of Strategic Sales at EvoEndo, which develops systems that enable unsedated endoscopic procedures.


In this episode, Dr. Gleich shares more about what sparked his interest in researching eosinophils and how he has contributed to various related research studies. He sheds light on his discovery of Gleich syndrome, some of the studies that have contributed to a better understanding of eosinophilic conditions and their treatment, and his hopes for further research in this area. Beth Allen also talks about the history of APFED and patient advocacy in relation to eosinophil-associated diseases, and how patients have contributed to research. Tune in to find out more.


Disclaimer: The information provided in this podcast is designed to support, not replace the relationship that exists between listeners and their healthcare providers. Opinions, information, and recommendations shared in this podcast are not a substitute for medical advice. Decisions related to medical care should be made with your healthcare provider. Opinions and views of guests and co-hosts are their own.


Key Takeaways:

[1:08] Ryan introduces his co-host for this episode, Beth Allen.

[2:47] Ryan introduces the guest for this episode — Dr. Gerald Gleich.

[3:15] As a specialist in dermatology, how did Dr. Gleich get interested in researching eosinophils and related diseases?

[6:34] Where did Dr. Gleich’s research begin and how did his initial research play out?

[9:08] At what point did Dr. Gleich start seeing other eosinophilic cases or associated disorders?

[12:12] Dr. Gleich shares more about why eosinophils are named as such.

[16:21] Dr. Gleich discovered an eosinophil-associated disease called Gleich syndrome. How did he discover this condition?

[22:03] What did patient advocacy look like 20 years ago? Beth Allen shares how APFED got started and what things were like in the early days.

[31:03] How did Dr. Gleich get involved with APFED?

[34:08] Dr. Gleich shares a little about some of the studies that have been done around granule proteins and eosinophils.

[39:45] Dr. Gleich shares an anecdote of a patient who had a child while on eosinophil suppressing treatment.

[42:24] Despite advances being made in research in this area, there is still a lot that we don’t know and a lot more to learn. Patients have a huge role to play in contributing to research about eosinophils.

[46:43] What are Dr. Gleich’s biggest hopes for research in the field of eosinophil-associated diseases going forward?

[52:32] What is Dr. Gleich currently working on?

[54:08] Dr. Gleich reflects on the importance of being ready and prepared for things we may not predict or expect in the future.


Mentioned in This Episode:

American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED)

APFED on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram

Dr. Gerald Gleich

2021 EOS Connection Patient Education Conference

EOS Connections Online Community


This episode is brought to you thanks to the support of our Education Partners: GlaxoSmithKline.



“The eosinophil has its roots in Greek mythology, in German chemistry, and then in the wonderful insights that Ehrlich had to apply these dyes to tissues.” - Dr. Gleich


“The drive to discover the syndrome was really a matter of necessity.” - Dr. Gleich


“Advocacy in this community actually started with just trying to bring together education in a more uniform way [and] finding other avenues of support between us.” - Beth Allen


“The amount of support that came back from the simple asks that we had was surprising.” - Beth Allen