Groundbreaking Immunotherapy Trial Cures Peanut Allergies in Majority of Children

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New research out of Australia has the potential to be an absolute game changer for parents and people with peanut allergies.

Peanut allergies are increasingly common in children, and they have the potential to be life-threatening. Peanuts are one of the most common sources of death from peanut allergy. Even if our own kids can eat peanuts, we often have to be vigilant about keeping our kids from exposing other kids to them. Nobody wants to hurt another person’s child by sending a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school.

Peanut immunotherapy trial had amazing results.

Now, however, an immunotherapy trial from Australia has cured peanut allergies in most of the kids in the trial. Researchers say the effects seem to be lasting.

According to The Guardian, lead researcher Mimi Tang combined a probiotic with peanut oral immunotherapy, which is basically just eating peanuts in a controlled setting.

Dr. Tang added the probiotic to the peanut in an attempt to “nudge” the immune system into reprogramming its response to peanuts. The goal is to eventually develop a tolerance to peanuts.

For Dr. Tang’s trial, 48 children with peanut allergies took either a combination of peanut ad probiotic, or a placebo, for 18 months. After the test was concluded, 82 percent of the children who got the probiotic and immunotherapy could eat peanuts comfortably with no reaction. Only 4 percent of the kids in the placebo group had become tolerant.

They’re still eating peanuts now.

That test ended in 2013, and Tang says the effects still hold. Most of those kids are just eating peanuts as part of their normal diets now.

“These children had been eating peanut freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake in the years after treatment was completed,” Tang said.

Larger clinical trials will need to be conducted to confirm the results. They will also need to look at the probiotic plus immunotherapy program compared with peanut oral immunotherapy on its own. But the results are pretty amazing. Successfully treating peanut allergies would relieve a lot of stress and anxiety for kids and parents. This would make a huge difference in a lot of kids’ lives.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / Gizelka)