We, at The FPIES Foundation, are excited to tell you about some new amino-acid formula options! We sat down with April Clark and Kelli Miller, both Registered Dietitians and Clinical Specialists in GI & Allergy for Cambrooke, to talk about Cambrooke’s mission and their new amino acid-based formulas, EquaCare Jr. and Essential Care Jr.

Tell us a little about your company and your motivation to provide allergy friendly products.

Cambrooke was founded in 2000 by Lynn and David Paolella, the parents of two children diagnosed with a rare disease called phenylketonuria (PKU). They recognized the limitations in the nutrition options available for their children and wanted to take action to improve those choices.  Since that time, it has become Cambrooke’s goal to develop improved nutritional therapeutic options for those with serious medical disorders. Today, Cambrooke produces medical formulas and foods for the management of a variety of medical conditions and we are continually innovating new nutritional options targeted at a wide array of diseases. With more than 40 years’ experience in the allergy formula business, the staff at Cambrooke understands the need for amino acid-based formulas that allow children to grow and thrive with the simple addition of a safe, non-allergenic formula to their diet. We also have clinical staff whose own children suffer from GI and allergic conditions – another reason we knew we must make better products.

What products do you offer? Can you tell us a little about them?

We have two junior amino acid-based formulas intended for children over 1 year of age, EquaCare Jr. and Essential Care Jr.  

  • Essential Care Jr. – designed with natural ingredients, it is the only amino acid-based formula that is free of corn, soy and artificial ingredients.  In addition, it provides carefully chosen ingredients to support easy digestion, bone health, brain development and eye health.  All at a cost similar to the competition with four appealing, naturally sweetened flavors options. 
  • EquaCare Jr. – created to provide reliable nutrition with similar ingredients at a price that families can afford.  It provides the same quality and similar flavors as the current amino acid-based options but costs 25% less than the competition lessening the financial burden often experienced with food allergic disorders. 

How does someone get a sample, make a purchase, or get a prescription?

Both EquaCare Jr. and Essential Care Jr. are available through most pharmacies, Durable Medical Equipment (DME) providers, and are also available for purchase on our website.  Ask your physician for a prescription.  For those who prefer to try their formula of choice prior to purchasing, samples can be requested through your healthcare provider or the sample page on our website.  If you run into any challenges obtaining either formula, feel free to contact our Clinical Specialists for support (see below). 

What sets your company apart? 

Several things set Cambrooke apart.  First, being founded by parents of children with a chronic medical condition and remaining a small company allows us to stay connected and approach the families we serve with empathy, compassion, and understanding.  In addition, Cambrooke prioritizes the input of registered dietitians, healthcare providers, and families in the development of products and day to day operations of our business.  This allows us to better understand the needs of our customers and keeps us connected to the challenges that families and healthcare providers face.   Lastly, we have knowledgeable clinicians and compassionate team members, some of which have children living with chronic medical conditions. This approach of prioritizing the needs of patients and the passion for always doing better is what led us to leave clinical care to become Clinical Specialists at Cambrooke.

What is your motivation to be so allergy-friendly?

In 2017, Cambrooke was acquired by Ajinomoto North America, Inc., a worldwide leader in amino acids.  This partnership aligned with Cambrooke’s desire to continue expanding nutritional options for those living with chronic medical conditions.   It only made sense that we would partner our values with Ajinomoto’s knowledge and experience to create innovative allergy-friendly products, specifically amino acid-based formulas. Although the risk for allergic reactions to trace amounts of proteins from carbohydrate sources are low, we felt it important to provide another option for those who could not tolerate a corn-based formula.

What inspired your product developments? 

As a company, Cambrooke is dedicated to improving the medical foods choices for those with rare diseases and medical conditions. When considering the creation of amino acid-based formulas, we thought it best to talk to the people prescribing and using them.  In talking with families and healthcare providers who use these formulas, we identified multiple areas where amino acid-based formulas could be improved. We knew our team, with over 40 years of combined experience in the allergy formula business and clinical care working with food allergies and GI disorders, could rise to the challenge to overcome these unmet needs in the current products. 

Can you describe your company’s allergy-friendly manufacturing practices?

Both formulas are free of the top eight allergens: milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts (including coconut), fish, and shellfish. In addition, Cambrooke took the extra step to eliminate corn ingredients from Essential Care Jr. for those concerned with a possible reaction or intolerance to corn.

Ajinomoto Cambrooke Inc. adheres to strict manufacturing standards to ensure EquaCare Jr. and Essential Care Jr. are hypoallergenic. All equipment is thoroughly cleaned and tested for the presence of allergens, using a lateral flow test, prior to beginning a new production run. To further ensure hypoallergenicity, the final formula is tested using ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) testing. Our testing detects the presence of milk, soy, egg, wheat/gluten, peanut and tree nut proteins.

Full ingredient lists for each product can be found on our website.  

What does your company do to raise awareness to food allergies?

Awareness and advocacy is so important for those with food allergies. We are currently working with several patient advocacy groups, including The FPIES Foundation, to identify areas where support is needed and expand efforts to increase awareness. We are excited to use Cambrooke’s resources, clinical knowledge, and experience to support families as well as healthcare providers and do our best to connect them with reliable, factual, and scientific resources.

In addition, we are working to develop tools and resources that can be used to support clinicians and families. We utilize social media to connect with leaders, influencers and to share information and resources. We also have a blog that discusses many relevant topics on food allergy, including FPIES.  Our blogs intend to answer common questions caregivers may have regarding food allergies and food allergic conditions. If you have ideas for promoting food allergy awareness, please contact our Clinical Specialists (see below).  

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Meet our Clinical Specialists in GI & Allergy, who are available to answer questions or provide support by contacting them here.

April: I have over 10 years of experience working in a clinical and academic food allergy center specializing in both IgE-mediated and non-IgE mediated food allergies with a special interest in Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE).  I am a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), and the International Network for Diet and Nutrition in Allergy (INDANA).  I was a member of the Founding Medical Advisory Board for The FPIES Foundation and my collaboration with patient advocacy groups and healthcare professionals continues to fuel my passion for supporting those living with food allergies. In 2020, I chose to leave clinical practice to become a Clinical Specialist at Cambrooke because it provided me the opportunity to continue my journey supporting those living with food allergies. This role allows me to collaborate with families, healthcare providers, and members of our team to provide the best possible nutrition options for food allergic and gastrointestinal disorders. 

Kelli: For more than twelve years, I have worked in the clinical setting as a Registered Dietitian. I specialized in pediatric nutrition for 9 of those years, specifically GI/Allergy, Critical Care, and Oncology. During my 6 years as a GI dietitian, I worked with a large number of children suffering from Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES). I am also the mother of a 3-year-old boy who was diagnosed with EoE at 11 months old. I have seen firsthand how food allergic conditions can deeply impact one’s life. My son has required amino acid-based formula since he was first diagnosed, and I understand the importance of these formulas with elimination diets to ensure proper nutrition and growth. I also know the importance of having a better amino acid-based formula option for my son and other children. I joined Ajinomoto Cambrooke as a Clinical Specialist focusing on gastrointestinal and allergy nutrition in 2019 to work with families and health care providers to ensure we are providing safe and improved options for those requiring specialized nutrition formulas.

On behalf of Cambrooke, April Clark and Kelli Miller would like to thank The FPIES Foundation, Joy Meyer, and Amanda LeFew for their continued support and for inviting us to share our story with the FPIES community. 

Thank you to April and Kelli for telling us a little bit more about this new formula option!

This post is a written interview from The FPIES Foundation and provided by April Clark and Kelli Miller, Dietitians at Cambrooke.