News / Health

    New Therapy for Peanut Allergy Shows Promise

    Similar to allergy shots for dust and pollen, feeding peanuts in tiny amounts is designed to reprogram the young patients’ immune system so peanuts don’t provoke life-threatening reactions.
    Similar to allergy shots for dust and pollen, feeding peanuts in tiny amounts is designed to reprogram the young patients’ immune system so peanuts don’t provoke life-threatening reactions.
    Jessica Berman
    To someone with a peanut allergy, accidentally ingesting a product containing even tiny amounts of the legume can trigger a potentially life-threatening reaction.  But researchers have found that when patients were given miniscule daily doses of peanut powder, they were able to build tolerance to the deadly food allergen.  
     
    There is currently no allergy shot to desensitize individuals with a peanut allergy. The best treatment is to avoid all foods that might contain peanuts, which - in some people - can cause a potentially fatal reaction called anaphylaxis, in which the airways tighten and restrict breathing.  The only treatment is a rescue shot of epinephrine, which opens the airways. Those with the allergy often carry an emergency shot with them.
     
    It might seem dangerous to give these people an oral dose of peanut powder.  But that’s exactly what U.S. researchers did in a new multi-center clinical trial. 
     
    Wesley Burks, chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, led the study.  He says 20 peanut-sensitive adolescents at two centers were given liquid containing miniscule amounts of peanut powder which they held under their tongue for two minutes before swallowing, while 20 received a placebo, or inactive, liquid. 
     
    Every day, according to Burks, scientists increased the amount of peanut in the liquid by a tiny fraction.
     
    “Before the study, they only could eat a third of a peanut.  At the end of the study they could tolerate three peanuts.  So that difference changed.  What we don’t know is how long do you need to continue the therapy and then you need to stop it so that change is permanent," he said. 
     
    More studies will be conducted to find that out.  The SLIT trial, which stands for Sub-Lingual or beneath-the-tongue Immuno-Therapy, shows promise in desensitizing people with severe peanut allergies; after 44 weeks, adolescents in the study could tolerate ten times as much peanut as before the trial, compared to subjects who received an inactive liquid, according to Burks. 
     
    The researcher cautions those with peanut allergies not to try desensitizing themselves.  Microdoses measured in just billionths of a gram of peanut power were used in the trial, doses that could not be replicated at home.
     
    "We were unbelievably safe in trying to administer the product.  And it is not something that's ready for practice or ready for home use, because for peanut-allergic patients, there's too many dangers in doing that," he said. 
     
    The study on treating peanut allergy with sublingual therapy is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora