There’s hope for a solution for people with peanut allergies.
An experimental drug derived from peanuts can turn cases of peanut allergies around, according to a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The drug AR101, made by Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc., contains small calibrated doses of peanut protein and desensitized people with allergies in a clinical trial.
In the trial, 372 children ages 4 to 17 received doses of AR101. Participants in the trial were given small but increasing doses over a year. At the end of the trial, Two-thirds tolerated the equivalent of two peanuts, which would provide protection against reactions to accidental peanut exposures.
“Peanut allergy demands lifelong vigilance to avoid accidental exposures, and the unpredictable severity of reactions that do occur can take a toll on children and families," said Dr. A. Wesley Burks, a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and senior author of the NEJM publication.
"By significantly reducing the frequency and severity of allergic reactions to peanut, AR101 could provide reassurance and make a meaningful, beneficial impact on people’s daily lives," Burks said.
Peanut allergies are increasingly prevalent among children in the United States and other industrialized countries. In the United States from 1997 to 2008, peanut allergy tripled (from 1-in-250 children to 1-in-70 children), Aimmune Therapeutics reported.
The allergy persists into adulthood and can be life-threatening. They account for the majority of deaths related to food allergy.