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New Peanut Allergy Treatment Effective for Children

Update Date: Jan 30, 2014 09:25 AM EST
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Nut allergies can be extremely dangerous since these products can be found everywhere. In a new study, researchers tested a new peanut allergy treatment on a select group of children. They found that the allergic children were able to successfully consume peanuts without suffering from any fatal allergic reactions.

In this study, the research team recruited 85 children between the ages of seven and 16 to participate in the trial at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, United Kingdom. The children were instructed to eat a peanut protein powder every day. Initially, the powder only contained one-70th of a peanut. The percentage of peanut in the powder gradually increased. The researchers reported that by the sixth month point, 84 percent of the children could eat around five peanuts a day without any reactions.

"It really transformed their lives dramatically; this really comes across during the trial," commented one of the researchers, Dr. Andrew Clark, according to BBC News. "It's a potential treatment and the next step is to make it available to patients, but there will be significant costs in providing the treatment - in the specialist centers and staff and producing the peanut to a sufficiently high standard."

The study cautioned that even though the success rate of 84 percent is high, the trial was limited to an extremely small group of children. The study also only tested peanut tolerance. People who are allergic to peanuts are likely to have allergies to other nuts. Furthermore, the trial was controlled and ran by experts. People should not attempt to use this method on their own.

"This is clearly a promising paper but it certainly isn't a cure," Professor Simon Murch, an allergy expert at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, commented. Murch was not involved with the study. "Nevertheless this study does point towards a promising new direction of therapy and once further testing has been carried out, and techniques refined, it may prove to be a therapy with widespread use in hospitals in future/ This is not something that should be undertaken at home, or indeed outside specialist centers."

The study was published in The Lancet.

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