Australian researchers may have found a cure for peanut allergy. This Melbourne-based clinical trial has already seemed to have changed lives of children who participated in it.
Peanut allergy is not only the most prevalent type of food allergy in the world, but can also be fatal. Those who suffer from it resign to a life without peanuts. They also live with the constant danger lurking in outdoor foods and of accidentally ingesting peanut and suffer severe consequences.
Until now the only way to keep allergic reactions away was to not eat peanut and peanut-based products at all. But now with this groundbreaking study there is a sliver of hope that soon the days of peanut allergic reactions might be a thing of the past.
The breakthrough trial
The trial by the Austrian research team worked with 30 kids who suffered from peanut allergy. The children in the trial ranged from one years of age to up to ten years. These children received a dosage of peanut protein and a probiotic called Lactobacillus rhamnosus every day of the trial. The dose was gradually increased during the trial that lasted some 18 months.
The protein was in the form of peanut flour and its quantity was increased from the initial tiny amounts to up to two grams. The quantity of Lactobacillus rhamnosus was quite large. It amounted to Lactobacillus rhamnosus found in yogurt measuring 44 pounds or 20 kg. After the study was over almost 80 percent of the kids in the trial could tolerate peanuts without suffering any allergic reactions. This oral immunotherapy produced better results than children who received a placebo for the trial.
One important aspect of the trial is the fact that there were no drugs involved. Children were given the same food that caused allergic reactions in their bodies. The dose began with peanut flour but as the quantity of it increased over the weeks so did the form. It was switched to a capsule form and then to actual peanut. This is the step that finally leads to freedom from allergic reactions.
The trial is also significant as this could lead to possible cures for other food allergies such as from dairy, wheat and eggs – at least this is the hope of the scientists who conducted the trial.
The possible cure
There is a long way to go in developing a viable cure for food allergies. But this is a significant first step towards a possible cure for peanut allergy and subsequently for other kinds of food allergies. The study was focused on allergic reactions of peanuts as it has a large fatality rate and lasts for life.
As far as the initial reaction of the families involved in the trial is concerned it has all been very positive. But there is more to be done. A follow-up trial down the line is needed to check if the subjects can still tolerate peanuts. It was a small study indeed, but satisfying as it produced desired results.