New Study: Oral immunotherapy for peanut allergies shows promise

In what is being hailed as a peanut allergy treatment breakthrough, new research experimenting with oral immunotherapy to treat children’s peanut allergies has shown impressive success rates, offering a possible way for children to slowly and safely increase their tolerance to nut-based foods that can cause them serious health risks.

Doctors at Addenbrooke Hospital at Cambridge administered 2-milligrams of the peanut powder in the volunteer’s food who were between the ages of 7and 16. Slowly, over time, they increased the amount to 800 mg and observed these patients for dangerous side effects.

After six months 80% of the 99 participating children could safely eat up to five peanuts which was 25 times the amount they could tolerate before the experiment

“This made a dramatic difference to their lives,” said Dr. Andrew Clark of the University of Cambridge in Britain, who led the research. “Before the study, they could not even tolerate tiny bits of peanuts and their parents had to read food labels continuously.”

The intention of the treatment isn’t to help kids eat large amounts of peanuts, but to prevent a life-threatening allergic reaction in case they accidentally eat trace amounts.

This type of therapy, dubbed oral immunotherapy (OIT), is not yet suitable for mainstream clinical use. More research needs to be done on the “mechanism of action, including short and long term effects of the therapy, outcomes, as well as larger scale testing of such protocols.”

Researchers have warned parents not to try this treatment at home as it would be highly dangerous.

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