Allergy & Immunology

The Division of Allergy and Immunology at Lurie Children’s treats more children for allergies and asthma than any other hospital in Illinois. Several of our allergist/immunologists are leaders in their field, having worked with national organizations to improve the understanding and care of pediatric asthma, allergies and immune deficiencies.

In addition to caring for children with general allergies, we offer these specialized programs: 

Our food allergy team performs cutting-edge food allergy diagnoses, including oral food challenges, the best way to confirm a food allergy. We have the capacity to safely perform this test in children in a controlled manner. Our specialists perform 350 or more oral food challenges each year, far more than most other hospitals.

Lurie Children’s has the most comprehensive program in the Chicago area to evaluate primary immune deficiencies. Our program is one of 125 globally recognized Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic Centers for Primary Immune Deficiencies, which are dedicated to improving the awareness, early detection and treatment of these serious conditions.

We work closely with highly specialized laboratories at Lurie Children’s, such as the Clinical Immunology Laboratory. This laboratory has pioneered diagnostic tests for primary immune deficiencies that are now used around the world, such as the Dihydrorhodamine (DHR) Flow Cytometry Assay for diagnosis of Chronic Granulomatous Disease.

Lurie Children’s also provides comprehensive treatment to patients with primary immune deficiencies with outpatient treatments in the Ambulatory Infusion Center or definitive therapy via stem cell transplantation. Lurie Children’s has a Severe Immunodeficiency Stem Cell Transplant Program made up of physicians and nurse practitioners from the stem cell transplantation and allergy and immunology specialties. This program is part of the Primary Immune Deficiency Transplant Consortium, a research consortium that evaluates the most effective methods to treat primary immunodeficiency diseases through transplantation, gene therapy or enzyme replacement.

Although most of these diseases are rare, our primary immune deficiencies team cares for 340 patients annually. Because these conditions are often inherited, our team provides genetic screening of patients’ close family members and works with genetics experts at Lurie Children’s to provide genetic counseling.

We also help the Institute for Fetal Health in the prenatal diagnosis of primary immune deficiencies. Our program is part of the U.S. Immunodeficiency Network, a research consortium established to advance scientific research of primary immune deficiencies.

Our doctors also work with gastroenterologists to provide multidisciplinary care for eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases.

Experience

Our entire staff is dedicated to evaluating and treating infants, children and teens. The team includes:

Our doctors also work with other specialists at Lurie Children’s, including physicians as needed in:

Jacqueline A. Pongracic, MD, heads the division and is board certified in allergy and immunology. Dr. Pongracic has more than 20 years of experience in the field. She is also a Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Approach

We believe in family-centered care​, which means we involve the whole family in a patient’s treatment plan. From including family members in care plan meetings, to providing support to a patient’s siblings, we do our best to help fit our care within your lifestyle. We also offer a program that helps teenagers transition from pediatric to adult care​.

Our services are available at: 

Research

Physicians and scientists in our division conduct many research studies in patients that evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments. These clinical trials give your child the chance to take part in groundbreaking research that is improving the treatment of asthma, food allergies and primary immunodeficiencies. Current trials include the VIPES Study to test a new form of immunotherapy (a skin patch) for peanut allergy in children and young adults.

We are also conducting clinical trials for preventing asthma exacerbations and finding out which treatments are the best for preschoolers who wheeze, as well as several other studies for asthma and food allergy.

Our researchers also conduct translational, or “bench to bedside,” research. For example, Lurie Children’s Bunning Food Allergy Institute is performing laboratory studies exploring how food allergies develop and how a person can develop a tolerance to food allergies. Our investigators also collaborate with food allergy researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Through research and education, the Bunning Food Allergy Institute seeks to improve the lives of children and families affected by food allergy. 

Conditions

Our pediatric specialists treat children for various allergies and immunology-related conditions. See a list of the conditions we treat.​

Make an Appointment

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®). You can also request an appointment online.

Philanthropy

Private contributions support exciting new research discoveries, help us train tomorrow’s allergists/immunologists and fund staff professional development that keeps our team members at the top of their field. We are grateful to the Tanaka Family for supporting asthma research and to the Jeffrey Modell Foundation for funding our Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic Center for Primary Immune Deficiencies.

Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please e-mail Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org, call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today.​​



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