This is an important developmentfor those who have this dangerous allergy. They have shown that a regimen that uses a slow increase in exposure incombination with chocolate is able to increase ones ability to consume peanutsa thousand fold. I still think that onewould not be eating peanut butter sandwiches, but that the occasional nut in a cookiemay be well tolerated and plausibly enjoyed.
Previous efforts at desensitizationhad been disappointing. This is verygood news for sufferers and should be soon readily available in the form of chocolateconsumables.
The important thing for sufferersis to mitigate the risk so that accidental injection does not mean a desperatetrip to the emergency ward. This clearlymeets that particular need and will relieve care givers of the extra precautionsthat have become necessary.
Study shows new peanut allergy treatment works
18 March 2011
Allergy experts at the
haveconvincing evidence that a new treatment for peanut allergies is effective,following a three-year trial. University of Cambridge
The trial, from the group of Dr Pamela Ewan of the Department ofMedicine and conducted at Addenbrooke's Hospital, involved a careful regimeof feeding chocolate containing peanut flour in gradually increasing doses topatients with severe peanut allergies.
Following on from a small clinical trial conducted in 2009, the allergyteam carried out a larger trial involving 22 children.
Before beginning the treatment, the children involved in the studyreacted to tiny amounts of peanut. After treatment, 19 of 22 children were ableto eat five peanuts a day; two had partial success - eating two to threepeanuts a day; and one dropped out of the study at the start.
Dr Andrew Clark, who led the clinical trial, said: "This is thefirst time that a peanut allergy study has shown such a high level of successand proves that it is possible for peanut allergic patients to eat peanutswithout fear of a severe reaction."
The children and teenagers attended the hospital's clinical researchfacility to undergo the desensitization treatment, which still proved effectivesix months on.
Peanut allergy is common, affecting between one and two percent ofyoung children and can cause severe or even fatal reactions. There is currentlyno satisfactory treatment. The diagnosis has a major impact on families,because of the fear of a severe reaction and anxiety in making food choices.
"The lives of the families involved in this trial have beentransformed," said Dr Clark
. "The amount of peanut that could be tolerated by the childrenand teenagers on this trial increased 1000-fold."
Studies of peanut immunotherapy from other centres, using differentregimes have been less successful. The
regime involves more gradual increases in dose but eventually a much higherdose of peanut is tolerated. Cambridge
"This treatment could drastically improve the lives of thosecurrently suffering with severe peanut allergies," said Dr Maher Khaled of
Cambridge ,the University's commercialisation group. "We are currently looking tomake this groundbreaking treatment more widely available." Enterprise
The findings are published today, 18 March, in the journal Clinical andExperimental Allergy. The study was supported by a grant from the Evelyn Trust,and further work is supported by the National Institute for Health Research.