New peanut allergy treatment works, study shows

Mar 21, 2011
New peanut allergy treatment works, study shows
Credit: Distal Zou

(PhysOrg.com) -- Allergy experts at the University of Cambridge have convincing evidence that a new treatment for peanut allergies is effective, following a three-year trial.

The trial, from the group of Dr. Pamela Ewan of the Department of Medicine and conducted at Addenbrooke's Hospital, involved a careful regime of feeding chocolate containing peanut flour in gradually increasing doses to patients with severe peanut allergies.

Following on from a small clinical trial conducted in 2009, the team carried out a larger trial involving 22 children.

Before beginning the treatment, the children involved in the study reacted to tiny amounts of peanut. After treatment, 19 of 22 children were able to eat five peanuts a day; two had partial success - eating two to three peanuts a day; and one dropped out of the study at the start.

Dr. Andrew Clark, who led the clinical trial, said: "This is the first time that a peanut allergy study has shown such a high level of success and proves that it is possible for peanut allergic patients to eat peanuts without fear of a severe reaction."

The children and teenagers attended the hospital's clinical research facility to undergo the desensitisation treatment, which still proved effective six months on.

is common, affecting between one and two percent of young children, and can cause severe or even fatal reactions. There is currently no satisfactory treatment. The diagnosis has a major impact on families, because of the fear of a severe reaction and anxiety in making .

"The lives of the families involved in this trial have been transformed," said Dr. Clark. "The amount of peanut that could be tolerated by the children and teenagers on this trial increased 1000-fold."

Studies of peanut from other centres, using different regimes have been less successful. The Cambridge regime involves more gradual increases in dose but eventually a much higher dose of peanut is tolerated.

"This treatment could drastically improve the lives of those currently suffering with severe peanut allergies," said Dr. Maher Khaled of Cambridge Enterprise, the University's commercialization group. "We are currently looking to make this groundbreaking treatment more widely available."

The findings are published today, 18 March, in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy. The study was supported by a grant from the Evelyn Trust, and further work is supported by the National Institute for Health Research.

Explore further: FDA cautions against 'undeclared' food allergens

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peanut allergies overstated, study finds

May 16, 2007

Despite hundreds of families being told their children have peanut allergies every year, many of the children may be able to eat peanuts safely, a study by researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Sydney ...

Treating peanut allergy through a patch

Mar 02, 2011

Can your peanut-allergic child be treated by simply wearing a patch? That’s what researchers at National Jewish Health are investigating. National Jewish Health, along with four other institutions in the Consortium of ...

Gene linked to peanut allergy

Mar 11, 2011

An international collaboration led by researchers at the University of Dundee has discovered a genetic link to peanut allergy. It has been known for some time that peanut allergy can be inherited, but this ...

Recommended for you

Independent safety investigation needed in the NHS

36 minutes ago

The NHS should follow the lead of aviation and other safety-critical industries and establish an independent safety investigation agency, according to a paper published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The au ...

Sexual fantasies: Are you normal?

4 hours ago

Hoping for sex with two women is common but fantasizing about golden showers is not. That's just one of the findings from a research project that scientifically defines sexual deviation for the first time ever. It was undertaken ...

AMA 'Code of Ethics' offers guidance for physicians

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics and other articles provide guidance for physicians in relation to public health emergencies, according to a report from the AMA.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.