Interrogating Steroid Non-responsiveness in the Irish Eosinophilic Oesophagitis Population

Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) is a rare, increasingly recognised disease where an immune cell (eosinophil) builds up in the oesophagus in response to allergens including foods. This damage can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, blockage, and with time scaring which may need surgery. EoE is a serious affliction that can lead to complex issues for the quality of life of patients and their families.
Although great efforts have been made to understand this disease, to date there are few treatment options, limited effectiveness, and no cure. Up to now no investigations have been performed involving Irish EoE patients. In working with patients and knowledge-users this project will develop an ‘EoE patient care practice in Ireland’ guideline.

Currently the main treatment available in Ireland is topical high-dose steroids. A substantial number of patients who return after treatment are not cured or even adequately palliated. World estimates put this non-response figure between 25-40%. We want to know why some patients may not respond to treatment (non-responsive) and some do, so we can tailor better options faster.

This 4-year project will address the differences between these two SR-groups by asking 3 questions, which could immediately lead to new understandings, clinical approaches, and better treatments and outcomes:

  1. Why does steroid non-responsiveness occur? Data already available and new data from new patients will be generated and analysed statistically in the hope of revealing new leads.
  2. Can we distinguish before starting treatment which patients will not respond to steroids? Developing tests to establish this would save precious time before more serious symptoms appear.
  3. How do our bodies respond (or not) to steroids? By understanding the underlying mechanism of non-responsiveness through molecular and cell studies, we would hope to identify new ways to diagnose the problem and make more effective treatment possibilities.
Award Date
01 July 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Joanne Masterson
Host Institution
Maynooth University
Investigator Led Projects