Australian researchers have made a breakthrough in the treatment of peanut allergy in children.
A small clinical trial conducted at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has led to two-thirds of children treated with an experimental immunotherapy treatment being cured of their allergy. Importantly, this desensitisation to peanuts persisted for up to four years after treatment.
“These children had been eating peanut freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake in the years after treatment was completed,” said the lead researcher, Prof Mimi Tang.
Peanut allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, and one of the most common causes of death from food allergy.
To combat this Tang, an immunologist and allergist, pioneered a new form of treatment that combines a probiotic with peanut oral immunotherapy, known as PPOIT. Instead of avoiding the allergen, the treatment is designed to reprogram the immune system’s response to peanuts and eventually develop a tolerance.
It’s thought that combining the probiotic with the immunotherapy gives the immune system the “nudge” it needs to do this, according to Tang.