Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Studies show children can complete treatment for peanut allergies and achieve long-term tolerance

A carefully administered daily dose of peanuts has been so successful as a therapy for peanut allergies that a select group of children is now off treatment and eating peanuts daily, report doctors at Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children's Hospital.

"It appears these children have lost their allergies," says Wesley Burks, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Duke. "This gives other parents and children hope that we'll soon have a safe, effective treatment that will halt allergies to certain foods."

Long-term tolerance in children with peanut allergies was documented for the first time by the presence of key immunologic changes, according to researchers at Duke and Arkansas Children's Hospital who presented their findings at the American Academy of Asthma and Immunology meeting in Washington, DC today.

Tests of several immunologic indicators suggest the body builds tolerance quickly.

"At the start of the study, these participants couldn't tolerate one-sixth of a peanut," Burks said. "Six months into it, they were ingesting 13 to 15 peanuts before they had a reaction."

About four million Americans have food allergies, and allergies to tree nuts and peanuts are the most common. Life-threatening reactions can occur from exposure to even a trace amount of peanuts, and nearly half of the 150 deaths attributed to food allergies each year are caused by peanut allergies.

Duke and Arkansas Children's Hospital began enrolling patients in studies five years ago to determine if incremental doses of peanut protein could change how the body's immune system responds to its presence. The doses start as small as 1/1000 of a peanut. Eight to 10 months later, the children are ingesting the equivalent of up to 15 peanuts per day. The children stay on that daily therapy for several years and are monitored closely.

Nine of the 33 children participating in the study have been on maintenance therapy for more than 2.5 years. After a series of food challenges, four of those children were taken off the treatment and continue to eat peanuts. Some have been off treatment for more than a year. Doctors keep tabs on any potential changes in their immune system via skin, blood and immune studies.

One of the tests used in the study looks at immunoglobulin E (IgE), a protein the body makes in response to peanut allergens. "If you have it, you're likely allergic, if you don't, you aren't," explained Burks. Children in this study generally started with IgE levels greater than 25. "At the end of the study, their peanut IgEs were less than 2 and have remained that way since we stopped the treatment," he said.

Because the pool of children now off treatment is so small, Burks says it's hard to say whether these children simply outgrew their allergies or if the therapy did something to enhance that outcome. The next step is a blinded study in which children on treatment are compared to a control group. First year results were presented at the meeting by Stacie M. Jones, MD, a pediatric allergist at Arkansas Children's Hospital. So far, the oral immune therapy appears to be working.

"We see initial desensitization effects of the treatment are real," Burks says. "Those children are now able to eat up to 15 peanuts with no reaction, but the children not on treatment have symptoms early on in the study."

Despite the news, Burks insists this research is still ongoing and cautions parents and professionals against trying any version on their own. "In my clinic, I would do the same things I've always done. Once diagnosed with a food allergy, I would recommend they avoid the food. We have to wait for the studies to show the treatment is safe, and to see desensitization start to work. We also want to know the therapy works long term."

Burks also cautions that some people are too sensitive to peanut allergens to be able to undergo the therapy.

Debbe Geiger | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>