Scientists are one step closer to a cure for peanut allergiesFebruary 6, 2015
Australian researchers have had a breakthrough while researching the treatment of peanut allergies.
Murdoch Children's Research Institute said in a statement scientists gave 60 children either a particular strain of a probiotic or a placebo. The probiotic, lactobacillus rhamnosus, together with peanut protein was administered over a period of 18 months to see if the children could become tolerant to peanuts.
The scientists aim is to reprogram the immune response to peanut, and if successful the method is transferable to the treatment of other food allergies.
The research led to 80% of the peanut allergy sufferers being able to consume peanuts after the trial, compared to 4% of those who were given the placebo. The Institute said this result is 20 times higher than the natural resolution rate.
Lead researcher Professor Mimi Tang said the results were exciting for sufferers of food allergies — especially peanut, as allergic reactions cause the most fatalities due to food-induced anaphylaxis.
"The likelihood of success was high - if nine children were given probiotic and peanut therapy, seven would benefit," she said in a statement. "It appears that we have been able to modify the allergic response to peanut such that the immune system produces protective responses rather than a harmful response to the peanut protein."
The scientists will now seek to confirm if the treatment has longterm effects for sufferers.