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Peanut allergy immunotherapy not a cure

Wednesday October 30th, 2019

Immunotherapy for peanut allergy can provide some protection – but does not offer a permanent cure, according to research published today.

In today’s (30 October) Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Dr Alexandra Santos of King's College London, UK, and colleagues report on their study of peanut allergy sufferers.

They tested cell samples from patients given peanut oral immunotherapy, using a mast cell activation test, to view the reaction. This treatment reduces a patient's sensitivity to peanuts, to lower their risk of accidental reactions to contaminated foods, by triggering the immune system to produce appropriate antibodies.

Results showed that when these antibodies are removed, the allergic cells are still as reactive as they were before treatment.

"Peanut oral immunotherapy can confer some protection to accidental exposure to peanut as a result of the so-called 'blocking antibodies' and shown by the reduction in the reaction of allergic cells after treatment,” says Dr Santos.

“But if we remove these 'blocking antibodies we could see that the cells are still as reactive as before, confirming that the patients were still allergic and need to keep going with the treatment regimen to maintain the protection."

She adds: "Definitive treatments for peanut and other food allergies are highly needed. Currently, immunotherapy is the only treatment option we can offer peanut allergic patients, mostly through clinical trials as this is not yet available on the NHS.

“Immunotherapy can be delivered by ingestion, under the tongue and applied to the skin as a patch. To a greater or lesser extent, the different forms of peanut immunotherapy can make allergic patients less sensitive, which can protect them from accidental exposure, but patients remain allergic."

Santos, A. et al. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 30 October 2019

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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