A New Treatment for Peanut Allergies Could Be On Its Way

posted: 03/14/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Little boy opening up peanuts to eat in a restaurant


For the millions of children who have peanut allergies, a new breakthrough therapy that will help prevent serious allergic reactions may soon be on its way.

According to the study, California based company Aimmune Therapeutics has developed capsules of peanut flour that if taken daily, have helped children build a tolerance to nuts. Researchers say that 67 percent of kids who had the peanut flour treatment were able to tolerate roughly two peanuts at the end of the study. This is compared to only 4 percent of the participants that were given a dummy powder.

For the study, nearly 500 children, all with severe peanut allergies and ages 4 to 17, were participants. For six months, each child was given either a capsules of peanut flour or a dummy powder in gradually increasing amounts. Then for another six months, the children took the final level of peanut flour. Neither the participants nor their doctors knew who was getting what until the study ended.

However, researchers are warning parents to not try to imitate this study on their own. "It's potentially dangerous," said Dr. Stacie Jones, a University of Arkansas allergy specialist and lead researcher on the study. "This is investigational. It has to be done in a very safe setting." All participants were under a doctor's care and to replicate this study at home could have dangerous and devastating effects.

Aimmune plans to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment later this year and in Europe early next year. More testing will need to be done before it can be released as well as further testing for younger children. However, even if this treatment is approved, it's going to be costly. Aimmune's chief executive recently told The Associated Press that he expects the first six months of treatment to cost $5,000 to $10,000. But for a parent that fears that one wrong food choice could harm their child, it's a cost many are willing to make.

So while kids with peanut allergies will have to pass on a PB&J for now, hopefully soon they will be able to enjoy this childhood lunchtime favorite.