Making peanuts safe for kids with peanut allergies

Washington (WUSA9)-- One day, children with peanut allergies may be able to enjoy peanut snacks.

Experts are advancing treatments for children with peanuts allergies. Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) has allowed children to digest peanuts in larger quantities and avoid negative reactions.

The results of a phase 2 trial are published in The Lancet. The data shows children with peanut allergies were able to eat 25 percent more peanuts than they could before the trial started.

Peanuts are the leading cause of severe and life-threatening allergic reactions. Right now, the only mechanism for preventing these reactions is to avoid foods containing peanuts. However, with this approach, accidental reactions still happen every year.

Study Leader, Dr. Andrew Clark from Cambridge University Hospitals says the treatment allowed children to consume large amounts of peanuts. Far more than what is found in contaminated snacks.

This treatment is "Freeing them and their parents from fear of a potentially life threatening allergic reaction." Dr. Clark said.

Under medical supervision, children were gradually given increasing amounts of peanut protein. They observed when the children experienced allergic symptoms.

According to Dr. Pamela Ewan, co-author and head of the allergy department at Cambridge University Hospitals, the study is a huge advance in peanut allergy research.

"This large study is the first of its kind in the world to have had such a positive outcome" Dr. Ewan said.

Dr. Ewan believes further studies are still needed and Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) is a treatment to be handled only by medical professionals.

Matthew J. Greenhawt from the University of Michigan Food Allergy Center says OIT proves exceptional, but it is experimental and has years before clinical use.


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