New Peanut Allergy Drug Has Potential to Save Lives



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Clinical trial reduced sensitivity to peanut allergens, with a gradual exposure to protein for six months. "This is not a cure, but it's a good first step," said Dr. James R. Baker.

Carter Grodi spent his entire childhood eating nothing that could contain any trace of peanuts. For 15 years without ever having tried a Kit Kat or a Twix. Now, because of a clinical trial that has reduced sensitivity to peanut allergens with a gradual exposure to protein for six months, the young man has been able to experience these chocolates without experiencing any allergic reaction.

The results, presented Sunday at a conference of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Seattle, may turn out to be the first oral medication that controls allergic reactions to peanuts in children.

The purpose of the treatment is not, according to The Guardian, cure the allergy or allow children to eat peanut butter. The purpose is to reduce the risk of accidental exposure to traces of peanut that can trigger a serious allergic reaction.

After six months of treatment, followed by six months of maintenance therapy, two-thirds of 372 children who received the treatment were able to ingest 600 milligrams or more of peanut protein – equivalent to two peanuts – without developing an allergic reaction.

One in 50 American children is allergic to peanuts. Peanut allergies cause more deaths from anaphylaxis than any other allergy.

"This is not a cure, but it's a good first step," Dr. James R. Baker told the paper. "We did not have anything to give these kids that would stop them from having an allergic reaction. It's a great thing to have."

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