Children with peanut allergy could be treated using immune-based therapy, a study suggests.
A group of researchers previously showed that combining probiotics with small amounts of peanuts may reduce allergic or anaphylactic reactions in children by gradually making their immune systems tolerant to the peanut allergen.
Four years later, the same group of researchers gave a structured questionnaire to the peanut-tolerant children, with the objective of recording their peanut consumption and subsequent adverse reactions, if any. Using peanut skin-prick tests, the levels of two peanut-specific antibodies: sIgE and sIgG4 were noted. Thereafter, the researchers asked the children to take part in a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge, in which their desensitization was checked.
The results showed that the combination therapy had induced a long-term ability in the children to tolerate peanut 4 years after discontinuing the treatment.
Among those who demonstrated short-term tolerance at the end of the original trial, more than three-fourths were still eating peanuts, and 70% had a long-lasting challenge-proven tolerance 4 years after withdrawing the therapy. In fact, these children could eat peanuts just like healthy children, who are not victims of allergy.
It was emphasized that these children did not follow any specific peanut consumption recommendations during the follow-up period.
The researchers, therefore, claimed that this immunotherapy is effective in gradually training the children’s immune systems to accept the peanut allergen, up to 4 years after completing treatment, and is safe.
Source: Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Journal