This Breakthrough Treatment Helped Over 80 Percent Of Allergic Kids Tolerate Peanuts

Dawn Papple

Researchers in Australia are excited to report a treatment for peanut allergy sufferers might be on the horizon. A trial experiment involving 60 children who were allergic to peanuts was performed at Murdoch Children's Research Institute. The researchers were able to help most of the kids involved in the test population of the study who were allergic to peanuts pass a peanut challenge. The 18-month trial showed great promise for peanut allergy suffers. Over 80 percent of the children in the trial tested tolerant to peanuts at the end of the trial.

The breakthrough treatment, as described by Time, involved the use of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Eating yogurt won't be enough to help peanut allergies, though, if the dosage used in the study is any indicator. The children in the test group were given probiotic treatments that amounted to the the equivalent of 20 kg of yogurt each day.

The researchers, led by Professor Mimi Tang, warned that parents of peanut allergy kids should absolutely not try the treatment at home, because through the trial, some reactions occurred. The importance of close medical supervision was stressed, because in addition to the probiotic, immunotherapy of a daily dose of peanut protein was also given at incremental doses depending on tolerance, according to the peanut allergy researchers.

"Astoundingly, researchers found over 80% of children who received the oral immunotherapy treatment were able to tolerate peanut at the end of the trial, compared to less than 4% of the placebo group. This is 20 times higher than the natural rate of resolution for peanut allergy. 23 of 28 (82.1%) probiotic treated children and one of 28 (3.6%) placebo-treated children were able to include peanut in their diet at the end of the trial. The likelihood of success was high - if nine children were given probiotic and peanut therapy, seven would benefit."
"It appears that we have been able to modify the allergic response to peanut such that the immune system produces protective responses rather than a harmful response to the peanut protein."

"Many of the children and families believe it has changed their lives, they're very happy, they feel relieved," Tang told the Guardian about the peanut allergy treatment.

"These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies."

[Photo via Pixabay]