Researchers published a study on Tuesday, showing the successful results of an immunotherapy treatment to cure children’s peanut allergy. The long-term study concluded that this type of treatment allowed children to eat peanuts for four years without having an allergic reaction.
Researchers Trained the Children’s Immune Systems
The study was published in the Lancet Child&Adolescent Health journal. It is a follow-up on the immunotherapy treatment which combined probiotics with small doses of peanuts. This way, researchers proposed to train the child’s immune system to accept the allergen instead of rejecting it. Previous studies showed that immunotherapy might be a way to reduce potentially fatal reactions caused by a peanut allergy. This time, researchers added the probiotics to train the stomach to accept the peanuts and not trigger the allergic reaction.
The study shows that 86% of the children who received the combined treatment have a significantly reduced allergic reaction, compared to the 4% who did not get any treatment. Out of the children who received the combined treatment, 67% were comfortable eating peanuts while the rest had mild reactions. The same mild reactions were reported according to the skin prick test with the allergen.
While the research yielded encouraging results, it cannot be called a fully-fledged cure. Associate professor of pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine, doctor Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn notes that the researchers only looked at the results from the combination of probiotics and the peanut allergen versus the lack of any treatment. Wegrzyn is interested in the results produced by those who only receive the immunotherapy. The probiotics might have very well made the difference since they are beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Further research needs to be conducted in order to come up with a cure. Nevertheless, the study published in the Lancet journal showed the effectiveness of immunization in the treatment of peanut allergy.
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