Peanut allergy breakthrough
A promising new treatment could help ease the lifelong burden of peanut allergy. In people who suffer from this sometimes life-threatening affliction, peanut protein triggers an allergic reaction. The new treatment, developed by Aimmune Therapeutics, is a peanut protein powder that helps children build up a tolerance to the allergen. The California-based firm carried out a clinical trial involving 496 kids, ages 4 to 17, with severe peanut allergies. Under strict supervision, 372 of the children mixed increasing doses of the powder into their food over a period of six months; they then had the maximum dose for an additional six months. The other participants had a placebo. By the end of the study, 67 percent of the kids given the treatment could tolerate the equivalent of two peanuts, compared with only 4 percent of the placebo group. While the powder doesn’t cure peanut allergy, it could help prevent life-threatening reactions. “It’s not going to be for everybody,” allergist Jonathan Tam, from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, tells CBSNews.com. “But for certain families that are very anxious about having accidental exposures, this is a great therapy.” Aimmune plans to seek approval for the treatment from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year.