Researchers in Australia have made a breakthrough in peanut allergies in children, thanks to an experiment where the immune system has been ‘re-programmed’.
The study, carried out at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, involved giving children who had peanut allergies increasing amounts of peanut protein every day for 18 months, along with a probiotic.
In total 82% of the children given this ‘immunotherapy’ as it’s known, were deemed tolerant to peanuts.Their tolerance remained 4 years later.
In another large clinical trial, carried out in 2014, 85 children were given a small amount of peanut protein to eat every day.
This was ramped up throughout the study so that after 6 months 84% of allergic children could eat the equivalent of 5 peanuts a day without having an allergic reaction.
Doctors running the study published in the Lancet, say the treatment has transformed the lives of the kids that took part.
Peanuts are the most common cause of fatal allergic reactions to food. Currently there is no treatment, so parents with allergic children have to spend a lot of time scouring food labels for the ‘may contain traces of nuts’ warning.
But this new study – and those preceding it – could lead to a potential cure in the future.