New cure for peanut allergy could save lives

New cure for peanut allergy could save lives

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Life-saving potential: New drug against peanut allergy developed

According to experts, up to one percent of the population suffer from a peanut allergy. Even minimal amounts can suffice to cause life-threatening symptoms in those affected. But now there is hope: an international team of researchers has developed a new drug against dangerous allergies.

More and more peanut allergy sufferers

According to the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB), an average of one percent of the population in the United States and the United Kingdom suffers from a peanut allergy. According to the experts, increasing numbers of peanut allergy sufferers are also registered in Germany due to the increased technological use in the food industry. Since peanuts are processed in many foods, it is often difficult for those affected to eat. But a new drug could make life easier for allergy sufferers.

Even the smallest amounts can be dangerous

"While most foods only trigger an allergic reaction after a certain amount, micrograms of peanuts can be sufficient to cause life-threatening symptoms," writes the DAAB.

Those affected may experience respiratory complaints, skin symptoms (neurodermatitis, urticaria and Quinke edema), diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, but also rapid heartbeat, dizziness, loss of consciousness and life-threatening shock conditions.

Allergy sufferers must therefore consistently avoid eating peanuts and their products. However, this is often difficult because the nuts are used as ingredients in a wide variety of foods.

A drug developed by an international team of researchers could help in the future. The drug could be approved as early as next year.

Controlled intake of peanut protein

A study published in the journal “New England Journal of Medicine” shows that the controlled intake of peanut protein can help build tolerance in allergy sufferers.

The active ingredient called AR101, developed by the international research team, contains peanut protein and is taken orally.

Of the 551 study participants who received the preparation or a placebo, 496 were between four and 17 years old.

After six months of treatment, followed by six months of maintenance therapy, two-thirds of the 372 children receiving treatment were able to consume 600 milligrams or more of peanut protein (the equivalent of two peanuts) without developing allergic symptoms.

In contrast, only four percent of the 124 children who received a placebo could consume the same amount of peanut without responding.

However, the treatment does not work for everyone affected. Fourteen percent of patients on active treatment were injected with an emergency medication, including a child who had anaphylaxis.

Exceeded expectations

Experts who were not involved in the study said the results exceeded their expectations and called the results "potentially life-saving," the New York Times reports.

However, they also warned that the treatment does not cure peanut allergies and should not be tried at home.

They also stressed that children who complete treatment must continue to follow a peanut-free diet and may need to continue maintenance therapy with tiny doses of peanuts, possibly for the rest of their lives.

"This is not the cure, but it is a good first step," said Dr. James R. Baker Jr. of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit advocacy group focused on food allergies.

"The fact that the children ate the equivalent of a peanut a day says that if they accidentally eat a peanut, they won't have a life-threatening reaction," said Dr. Baker.

Manufacturer hopes to get approval soon

Although treatment itself can cause allergic reactions, patients who complete treatment receive protection against accidental accidental exposure.

"They trade the uncertain, unpredictable risk of an accidental, out-of-control reaction for those types of minor, usually mild or moderate symptoms that are manageable for most patients," said lead study author Dr. Brian P. Vickery.

The pharmaceutical company Aimmune Therapeutics, which manufactures the active ingredient and financed the research, is now hoping for approval of the drug in the coming year. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Boy Survives Delayed Reaction To Peanut Allergy (December 2022).