Immunotherapy for peanut allergy protects but doesn’t cure

06 December 2019

Eating small amounts of peanuts can prevent reactions in peanut-allergic people, but doesn’t cure them, say researchers.

A study by King’s College London found peanut oral immunotherapy treatment – regular exposure to small doses of peanut to create antibodies – makes allergic patients less sensitive to peanuts.

But the risk re-emerges when treatment is stopped as without the blocking antibodies the allergic cells were found to be as reactive as before.

Lead author Dr Alexandra Santos said: ‘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.’

Peanut allergy affects around one in 50 children in the UK. It is the most common cause of food allergy deaths.

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