Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies in Canada. These allergies are typically lifelong allergies and even trace amounts in food can lead to severe anaphylactic reactions.
As usual, this is the time of year when children are being warned to bring peanut-free lunches to school to avoid triggering an allergic reaction that can spread to their peers.
However, according to scientists in Austria, there is a potential cure to peanut allergies which can keep the allergy at bay for up to four years in some patients.
Scientists at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute say they created an immunotherapy regimen, coupled with a common probiotic (lactobacillus rhamnosus) with peanut protein, which was able to ward off peanut allergic reactions in a trial containing 62 kids.
After using this regimen for 18 months, 82% of children were re-challenged successfully with peanuts and were able to incorporate peanuts back into their diets. By the end of the study, which was published in The Lancet, children were eating about 2g of peanut protein (7-10 peanuts).
A follow-up conducted 4 years later determined that 67% of the children who received the therapy were still eating peanuts and were allergy-free.
Although the sample size is small and extrapolation to the general community is not warranted, the research is promising. Researchers say they are aiming to conduct more test and release a therapeutic remedy available to the public within 5 years.