- New research offers hope for peanut allergy sufferers.
- A large-scale study suggests that oral immunotherapy treatment could allow sufferers to increase their tolerance to peanuts.
- The idea isn’t that peanut allergy sufferers will be able to eat nuts freely, but that their reactions may be reduced.
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A groundbreaking new study offers new hope for peanut allergy sufferers.
It may be possible to reduce the severity of allergic reactions to peanuts, suggests research published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
Peanut allergy is the leading cause of food-related anaphylaxis, the report said, with 6.1 million people suffering from allergies in the United States.
The number of sufferers has also grown in recent decades, with a 2017 study suggesting that prevalence in children has increased by 21% since 2010.
The new study involved a trial, called the Artemis trial, conducted in hospitals across Europe.
175 children with peanut allergies between the ages of 4 and 17 took part in the research, which saw them given increasing amounts of peanut allergenic protein or a placebo every day.
Those who took the peanut protein received a slightly higher dose every two weeks for six months, after which the same dose was maintained for three months.
The researchers found that 58 percent of the children who took the peanut protein could tolerate at least three or four peanuts by the end of the process.
Compared to only 2% of those taking placebo.
The researchers concluded that the treatment “led to rapid desensitization to peanut proteins.”
Research does not suggest that peanut allergy sufferers will soon be able to eat spoonfuls of peanut butter, however researchers hope it may mean less severe reactions from accidental nut exposure.
One attendee, James Redman, 12, told the Times he can now tolerate up to seven peanuts after suffering severe reactions to any traces of peanuts.
“Taking part in the study was the greatest opportunity of my life,” he said.
“The nurses and doctors were really caring and a lot of fun. I didn’t care about the taste of the peanut protein as I got to mix it with the chocolate pudding which was fantastic.
“I really hope the study leads to a treatment so that other children with peanut allergy can benefit from it.”
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