Could a treatment for peanut allergy be on the horizon? An experimental drug that targets the most common food allergy recently went through clinical testing.
The study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology's Annual Scientific Meeting reported that two-thirds of kids involved in the experimental drug's trial were able to eat peanuts without showing symptoms. This will allow some children to eat products containing peanuts despite their food allergies.
The findings were also published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Sunday, Nov. 18.
Peanut Allergy Drug
During the Phase 3 trial of the drug, which involved 551 people ages 4 to 55. A total of 496 were kids from ages 4 to 17. The participants were divided into two groups: one was to receive the experimental drug and one to receive placebo.
The trial was considered a success. According to the study, 250 participants out of the 372 who received the experimental drug were able to ingest 600 mg or more of peanut protein without experiencing symptoms associated with food allergy. Only 5 out of the 124 participants in the placebo group were able to eat the same amount without adverse effects.
According to Brian Vickery, the lead author of the study and director of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Food Allergy Program, the experimental drug comes in a capsule. It acts as an oral immunotherapy which gradually exposes the patient with allergy to the same substance they are allergic to.
However, Dr. Vickery warns that the drug is not a cure.
"It does not make the allergy to go away," he told CNN. "The purpose is not to get them to be no longer peanut allergic and allow them to eat whatever they want.
Unrestricted Diet For Kids With Food Allergies
Aimmune Therapeutucs Inc., the biopharmaceutical company that made the experimental drug. said that they will submit an application to market the peanut allergy treatment to the U.S. Food and Drug Authority by December.
The report comes a few months after a recent study revealed that the number of children with a peanut allergy has tripled from 1997 to 2008. The National Institute of Health recommends that early exposure to peanut could be the key to prevent food allergy in children.