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Australian researchers have made a breakthrough in the treatment of deadly peanut allergies in children.

A small clinical trial conducted at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute resulted in two-thirds of the children being rid of their allergy.

“These children had been eating peanut freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake in the years after treatment was completed,” trial lead Mimi Tang said on Thursday.

Immunologist and allergist Professor Tang has pioneered a new form of treatment that combines a probiotic with peanut oral immunotherapy, known as PPOIT.

Instead of avoiding the allergen, the treatment is designed to reprogram the immune system response to peanuts and over the longer term develop tolerance, reports SBS.

It’s thought combining probiotics with the immunotherapy gives the immune system the “nudge” it needs, Prof Tang said.

A total of 48 children were enrolled in the PPOIT trial and were randomly given either a combination of the probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, together with peanut protein in increasing amounts, or a placebo, once daily for 18 months.

At the end of the first stage of the trial in 2013, 82 per cent of children who received the probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy treatment were deemed tolerant to peanuts compared with just four per cent in the placebo group.

Four years later, the majority who gained initial tolerance were still eating peanut as part of their normal diet while 70 per cent passed a further challenge test to confirm long-term tolerance to peanut.

Prof Tang said the results were very exciting and had been life-changing for the children.

“We had children who came into the study allergic to peanuts, having to avoid peanuts in their diet, being very vigilant around that, carrying a lot of anxiety,” she said.

“At the end of treatment, and even four years later, many of these children who had benefited from our probiotic peanut therapy could now live like a child who didn’t have peanut allergy.”

The results have been published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

“This is a major step forward in identifying an effective treatment to address the food allergy problem in Western societies,” Prof Tang said.

Positive news for allergy sufferers!

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  • wow this seems to be good news! hopefully this will be a great lifelong advantage for these children. These allergies can really be so dangerous and i bet that the families will have some peace of mind now

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  • So many allergies it’s scary. I hope this is a step forward for more than just peanuts.

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  • Nice to see some progress here, anything that helps people with such issues has got to be a good thing, good on them.

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  • this is a potentially good start

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  • With peanuts some have to overcome the allergic reaction to the smell of them.
    Then they can try to see if they react to eating them. Some have throat issues because of their skin surface which they have to remove and some residue may stay on the nut itself.
    Some can get treatment for bee stings. It is a long process, not just a few months of treatment.
    Some children have egg allergies which can show up in various ways e.g. similar to hayfever symptom, vomitting. Some can have one or two eggs a week but there must be a few days between the two.

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  • This sure is a major step forward !

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  • This will be life changing for so many families

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  • Great news body

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  • Wonderful news for those that suffer.

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  • Such great news.

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  • It would be interesting to read the full research including the severity of the allergic reaction to peanuts in the participants.

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  • This is amazing!! Great news for so many people with peanut allergy!!

    Reply

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