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Peanut allergy trial planned

Monday February 22nd, 2010

British researchers are to embark on a major trial of a new treatment for peanut allergy - which can pose a major threat.

The trial will test an immunotherapy treatment that has been developed in Cambridge, UK, and seems to enable children with the allergy to become able to tolerate doses of peanuts.

Researchers have mixed small amounts of peanut flour with yoghurt and tested it on children while conducting careful monitoring of reactions.

Some 100 children will take part in the new study, conducted in accordance with scientific principles to "prove" the treatment is effective.

Proposals were announced at the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by Dr Andrew Clark, of Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

As many as two per cent of children suffer from nut allergy - and the risk of dangerous reactions increases as they grow older. As many as ten per cent of incidents cause severe reactions.

Dr Clark told the conference in San Diego, California, USA, results so far has been "dramatic". Some 13 children took part in the first tests of the treatment.

Although most suffered some allergic reactions, such as mouth itching and skin itching, not one needed emergency treatment with adrenaline.

He said: "Whereas before they were checking every food label every time they ate food.

"They would worry it would cause a reaction or even kill them but now they can go out and eat curries and Chinese food and they can eat everyday snacks and treats.

"For their birthday they can have chocolate cake and chocolates without any fear of reactions."

The new randomised control trial will mean that some children undergo treatment whilst others receive dummy treatment.

The conference also heard from European Union experts, who reported on moves to develop standard tests for identifying traces of allergic substances in food.

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | UK News

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