It may soon be a new treatment option to help millions of children suffering from peanut allergies. The final results of a clinical trial are in, and show that it is possible for some people with a peanut allergy to protect themselves by carefully building up a tolerance to peanuts over time. The study financed by Aimmune Therapeutics, included 551 participants, all of whom had peanut allergy. The participants varied between the ages of 4 and 55, but the majority were children between the ages of 4 and 1 7. The researchers gave one third of the participants a placebo, while two thirds received oral doses of small amounts of peanut powder in increasing amounts until they reached "maintenance dose", equivalent to a peanut a day. After nine to twelve months of treatment, two thirds of those who received it could tolerate the equivalent of two peanuts per day. Half the patients could tolerate the corresponding four peanuts daily. By contrast, only 4 percent of those in the placebo group could correspond to two peanuts without having an allergic reaction. "This is not a quick fix, and it does not mean people with peanut allergy will be able to eat peanuts whenever they want," says Dr. Jay Lieberman, co-author of American College and Vice President of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Food Allergy. Committee, said in a statement. "But it's definitely a breakthrough." The results of the study were presented at the American Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy,…
It may soon be a new treatment option to help millions of children suffering from peanut allergies. The final results of a clinical trial are in, and show that it is possible for some people with a
“This is not a quick fix, and it does not mean people with peanut allergy will be able to eat peanuts whenever they want,” says Dr. Jay Lieberman, co-author of American College and Vice President of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Food Allergy. Committee, said in a statement. “But it’s definitely a breakthrough.”
The results of the study were presented at the American Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nut and other food allergies have increased sharply in the US in recent years, leading to urgent research efforts to investigate potential ways to prevent and treat the problem. According to Food Allergy Research and Education (DANGER), the presence of peanut or tree nut allergy appears to have tripled in American children between 1997 and 2008.
DANGER estimates that about 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced a severe allergic reaction ] like anaphylaxis – a potentially life-threatening swelling of the throat, lips and tongue with difficulty breathing and swallowing. Patients may also suffer from vomiting and nasal congestion or skin rashes.
When anaphylaxis begins, drug epinephrine – usually from an autoinjector like– is the only effective treatment. Failure to treat a serious allergic reaction quickly enough .
Treatment of Aimmune Therapeutics does not completely cure peanut allergy – people who are allergic still need to avoid eating them. But it would allow them to better tolerate accidental exposure to small amounts, relieve some of the anxiety about trace amounts hidden in packaged foods or cross contamination from a classmate who recently ate a peanut butter sandwich.
Currently there are no approved treatments to reduce the severity of a. Daniel C. Adelman, Aimmun’s chief physician and senior writer of the study, told the New York Times that the company plans to apply for FDA approval at the end of the year. If the treatment is approved, it would be available on prescription.
Persons with peanut allergy would have to continue to take it in the long term to stay protected from accidental consumption.
As indicated by the study, however, the treatment will not work for everyone. In an accompanying editorial also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Michael R. Perkin, Ph.D., points out from the Population Health Research Institute at St. George’s University of London said that “desensitization was not easy on patients.”
Nearly 12 percent of participants in the active drug group needed to withdraw from the study due to side effects compared to approximately 2 percent in the placebo group.
Perkin also raises concerns about potential long-term side effects of continued consumption of an allergen that the body has produced antibodies, which are currently unknown. “Monitoring and monitoring will be crucial,” he writes.