Researchers from Cambridge University Hospital in the UK have reportedly had a breakthrough in their attempts to find a treatment for peanut allergies, a life-threatening condition suffered by an estimated three million plus Americans (according to a 2010 study). Over the course of more than five and a half years, the group of Cambridge researchers have developed an six-month oral immunotherapy treatment that “resulted in a majority of youngsters allergic to peanuts being able to eat them without showing ill effects.”
The double-blind study, published Thursday in The Lancet, lasted six months and was placebo controlled. Essentially, the children involved in the study were tested to determine their individual thresholds. Those in the active group were then given a dose of peanut protein orally (supervised by the researchers) that was less than the threshold amount at which they first started showing allergic reactions.
The children were then administered the same dosage daily at home for two weeks, after which they returned to the research facilities for an increased dosage, followed by more home ingestion of the increased dosage.
As mentioned previously, the study lasted six months, after which 84 percent of those children participating in the active research group were able to ingest as many as five peanuts a day with no adverse reaction, and 62 percent of them able to eat 10 peanuts or more!
“We think this is fantastic because this is the first study which really shows peanut desensitization works,” study author Dr. Pamela Ewan, head of the allergy department at Cambridge University Hospitals told FoxNews.com.
Researchers later took the control group from the first study and made them an active group. After the six months were up 91 percent could tolerate five peanuts and 54 percent were able to ingest 10 without an allergic reaction.
So should parents of children with peanut allergies begin oral immunotherapy at home? NOPE! “It would be highly, highly dangerous. It needs to be done very carefully by people who are used to immunotherapy and allergies,” Ewan said. “It’s not something an ordinary family doctor could try and [it] has to be [done] in a hospital setting with proper facilities to treat severe reactions in case of side effects.”
That being said, it’s looking very positive for those afflicted with severe peanut allergies! And it’s also great to know the solution doesn’t involve a ridiculously high-priced patented prescription drug!