New treatment could cure peanut allergy

A new experimental study has resulted in a cure for two-thirds of children treated with immunotherapy for peanut allergy. The ability to eat peanuts lasted for as long as four years after treatment.
By Ian Marsh | Aug 22, 2017
A new experimental study has resulted in a cure for two-thirds of children treated with immunotherapy for peanut allergy. The ability to eat peanuts lasted for as long as four years after treatment.

The study is published in the journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Eating peanuts is a common cause of a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.

Lead researcher Prof. Mimi Tang, an immunologist who conducted a small clinical trial at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Australia, developed a new type of treatment for peanut allergy that combines small amounts of peanut protein with a probiotic in a push to boost the immune system's tolerance to peanuts.

Forty-eight children participated in the trial and either received the peanut-probiotic combination or a placebo once a day for a year-and-a-half. At the end of the trial, 82 percent of children who got the immunotherapy treatment showed tolerance for peanuts compared with only four percent of those who received the placebo.

After four years, 70 percent of children who received immunotherapy were still able to tolerate peanuts.

The results still must be confirmed by larger clinical studies, but the authors hope their new treatment will one day reduce the rates of peanut allergy in children.

"This is a major step forward in identifying an effective treatment to address the food allergy problem in western societies," Tang said, in a report by The Guardian.

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