Study shows life-threatening reactions from accidental ingestion can be avoided
A new medication could help most people with peanut allergies avoid life-threatening allergic reactions, according to a report in the March 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. A research team led by Donald Leung, M.D., Ph.D. of National Jewish Medical and Research Center, and Hugh Sampson, M.D. of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, found that treatment with an anti-IgE antibody raised the average level at which study participants began reacting to peanuts from about half a peanut to almost nine peanuts. Researchers estimate that most of the 50-100 annual fatal reactions to peanuts occur after an allergic person accidentally eats the equivalent of just one to two nuts. The researchers also presented their findings March 10 in Denver at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology IgE is the molecule that binds to a group of cells called mast cells, which then trigger the allergic response. Food allergy symptoms can range from nausea and itching to anaphylactic shock and death. TNX-901, the treatment used in this study, is a genetically engineered antibody made by Tanox Inc. that binds to the IgE molecule and prevents it from triggering the allergic response.
"Our results indicate that the anti-IgE antibody could become the first preventive medicine for peanut allergies," said Dr. Leung. "If future studies bear out this initial promise, anti-IgE could not only save lives, but help lift a cloud of fear that people with peanut allergies live under every time they eat."
William Allstetter | EurekAlert!
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