New Therapy May Knock Out Peanut Allergy
Experimental Treatment Gives Patients Tiny Amounts of Peanut Protein
Second Peanut Allergy Study
In a second study of 18 children with peanut allergies, the researchers gave
the peanut protein treatment to 12 children and placebo powder to the other
After 10 months, the children were given the peanut challenge. The kids
taking placebo had allergic reactions after consuming the equivalent of one and
a half peanuts. Those in the treatment group could tolerate 15 peanuts
before they developed symptoms.
"This is the first study to show in a controlled way that oral
immunotherapy works," Burks says. The study continues, with the researchers
planning to enroll about 80 more patients.
Still, both studies are small and the children haven't been followed for
that long. "We have to wait and see if the children continue to tolerate
peanuts over the long term," he says.
Don't try this at home, he cautions. Unless they're in the study, Burks
gives the same advice to patients with food allergies that he always has given:
avoid the offending food.
Burks predicts oral immunotherapy will become a standard treatment within
the next few years. Studies in people with milk and egg allergies also show
promise, he notes.
Wood isn't quite as optimistic. "The studies are encouraging, and some
patients have been desensitized to peanuts. But whether that translates into
long-term tolerance remains to be seen. FDA approval [of oral immunotherapy] is
at least a decade away."