FOX NEWS - Scientists are inching closer to a drug that may protect peanut allergy sufferers from potentially life-threatening complications that can occur due to accidental consumption. While the drug is not being hailed as a cure for peanut allergy, it has proven successful in building up patients' tolerance to peanuts over time, lessening the potential for life-threatening complications.
"We're excited about the potential to help children and adolescents with peanut allergy protect themselves against accidentally eating a food with peanut in it," said allergist Stephen Tilles, MD, ACAAI former president, study co-author and consulting advisor for Aimmune Therapeutics, according to EurekAlert. "Our hope when we started the study was that by treating patients with the equivalent of one peanut per day, many would tolerate as much as two peanuts. We were pleased to find that two thirds of people in the study were able to tolerate the equivalent of two peanuts per day after nine to 12 months of treatment, and half the patients tolerated the equivalent of four peanuts."
The results, which were presented Sunday at the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were based on study participants ranging in age from 4 to 55 years old. All participants, who mostly fell between ages 4 and 17, had a peanut allergy, but one third received a placebo while the rest were given a peanut protein powder that increased in dose over time.
Participants ingested the peanut protein under the supervision of a board-certified allergist as part of a process called an oral food challenge (OFC).