Experimental treatment may desensitize allergic kids to peanuts

Peanut kernels and shell

Even better, their reaction to this 100-fold dose at the end of the study was milder than their reaction to the initial dose at the beginning of the study. He had just completed a year-long clinical trial of an oral immunotherapy regimen that aims to reduce children's sensitivity to peanut allergens by gradually exposing them to peanut protein over the course of six months, starting with minute amounts that are carefully measured and increased incrementally under medical supervision as tolerance develops. Twenty-five percent of children who had received AR101 experienced moderate symptoms during a food challenge at the end of the treatment, versus 59 percent of participants who had been given a placebo.

The study, the largest OIT investigation to date, focused on 496 participants between the ages of 4 and 17, all of whom were highly allergic to peanuts.

Peanut allergy sufferers have been given new hope following the results of a landmark study.

Jonathan Hourihane, professor of paediatrics and child health at UCC, said the trial was revolutionary and that 67 per cent of those on the treatment could tolerate peanuts afterwards.

However, the discovery is revolutionary because the study reports that there are now no approved treatment options for patients who are at risk for unpredictable and life-threatening allergic reactions to peanuts.

"Her allergy was very severe, so even a small amount of peanut could lead to a very serious reaction".

Peanut allergies can be deadly-and a complicated practical issue to deal with, as anyone with personal experience with such an allergy (and there's about one million kids in the US who have one) well knows.

Sophie Pratt, 44, from north London, enrolled her six-year-old daughter Emily onto the study.

- There could soon be a new treatment option to help millions of people who suffer from peanut allergies. "Now, we have a safety net that we can provide to kids that will prevent an allergic reaction if they accidentally take a bite of a peanut-containing food". Again, this isn't meant as a be-all-end-all solution to peanut allergies; it's simply meant to protect patients against life-threatening reactions (anaphylactic shock) when they unknowingly come into contact with a small dose of peanut. "The impact on our family life was huge".

People rarely outgrow the allergy which is the most common cause of food allergy deaths.



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