Peanut is one of the 8 foods that account for 90% of all food allergy reactions. Approximately 1% of the United States population has a reported peanut allergy with a consistent increase being seen in children. Peanut allergies are known to have a higher risk of anaphylaxis which can lead to death. Thus, they are treated very seriously with strict avoidance and emergency medical measures. Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies but do not have a high rate of success for outgrowing. Studies have indicated that 20% of children will outgrown their peanut allergy by age 6. For those that do not outgrown their allergy, there are no FDA approved treatments to lessen allergic reactions from accidental exposure. However, researchers are currently working on two promising peanut allergy treatments designed to desensitize a peanut allergic individual to peanut exposure.
SLIT (Sublingual immunotherapy)
A recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology tested the resistance rate of peanut allergic individuals to being given peanut protein through the SLIT process. SLIT involves a medical professional administering small doses of an allergen under the tongue to boost tolerance to a substance and reduce symptoms. Subjects for the study were chosen based on a set of criteria which included a clinical history or physician's diagnosis of peanut allergy. Subjects were excluded if they had a history of severe anaphylaxis to peanut, severe persistent asthma, or other significant nonallergic medical conditions. Of the subjects chosen, 68% were male with an average age of 15 years, 78% had a history of other food allergies, and 58% had asthma.
Participants were given a small dose of peanut protein that was gradually increased throughout the study for 44 weeks. First dose increases were given at the doctor's office with maintance doses given at home for 2 weeks following. The concusion of the study was promising.
Peanut SLIT safely induced a modest level of desensitization in a majority of subjects compared with placebo. Longer duration of therapy showed statistically significant increases in the successfully consumed dose. Of 10,855 peanut doses through the Week 44 OFCs, 63.1% were symptom free (JACI)
The hope for SLIT treatment for peanut allergies is to lessen the reaction an allergic individual would have to accidental exposure to peanut. Although not a cure, this therapy could save lives by providing more time to access life saving treatment and lessening the chance of fatal reactions.
DBV Technologies is currently sponsoring a study on their Viaskin Peanut patch. This patch acts much like the nicotine patches we are familiar with in the marketplace now. It holds small amounts of peanut protein against the skin. The protein is then sent through the skin gradually.
DBV Technologies has developed an epicutaneous delivery system, called Viaskin, a method based on delivering precise quantity of the allergen on the upper layers of the skin. Avoiding contact between the allergen and the bloodstream should confer to epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) a higher level of safety as systemic reactions should be circumvented. (Gov. clinical trials)
The patch could not be easier to administer. It is simply stuck onto the skin like a Band-aid The first phase of the clinical trials is complete and showed subjects experiencing as much as a tenfold increase in their peanut tolerance.
Phase two is getting ready to begin and is currently looking for subjects in the following areas in the United States:
San Diego, CA, Stanford, CA, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, Cinncinnati, OH, Pittsburg, PA, Dallas, TX, Seattle, WA.
If you are interested please click on this link to review the inclusion criteria. Make sure to scroll down the page for the criteria and clinics to contact.
Both of these promising treatments involve giving peanut allergic individuals small amounts of peanut protein that gradually increases over time in order to build up their tolerance of the allergen. These studies are being done under medical supervision and involve very real risk to the subjects. Please do not try these methods at home.
It's Food Allergy Awareness Week, check back for food allergen specific articles each day.
Friday, 16th - Fish/Shellfish
Friday is wear the color teal day in support of Food Allergy Awareness. It's a subtle way to support the cause. So, find some teal and sport it tomorrow!
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