More than 15 million people in the United States live with food allergies that impact every meal they eat. For some, accidentally ingesting a snack that their body deems taboo can ignite a violent biological response. Every three minutes someone is rushed to the emergency room due to a food-allergy reaction, and among children, peanut intolerance is the leading cause of throat-swelling, life-threatening anaphylaxis. But new research from Australia may provide a promising lead to fighting peanut allergies in kids.
Using a mix of peanut protein and bacteria found in yogurt, pediatric immunologists from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute temporarily treated 80 percent of their allergy-stricken patients, they reported this month in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. “These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies,” lead author Mimi Tang said to The Guardian. “Many of the children and families believe it has changed their lives, they’re very happy, they feel relieved.”
The next steps are to see how long the tolerance lasts. The researchers plan to have the children who passed the tests go eight weeks without eating peanuts, and then retest them.
*Image of “peanuts” via Shutterstock