A potential end to peanut allergies?


In a recent paper, results published in The Lancet from a clinical trial has reported that through the administration of peanut oral immunotherapy in children, ages 1-3, who are extremely allergic to peanuts, safely desensitized most of them and induced remission of peanut allergy in one-fifth (Another interesting study and previous summary from Immunopaedia: Early Introduction of Peanuts Prevents Allergies).

Jones, et al., have suggested a possible opportunity to reduce peanut allergy through oral immunotherapy in early childhood. The immunotherapy comprised a daily oral dose of peanut flour for 2.5 years whereby remission was defined as being able to consume eat 5 grams of peanut protein, equivalent to 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter, without having an allergic reaction six months after completing immunotherapy. The younger the child, the better their response to immunotherapy based on the lower peanut-specific immunoglobulin E antibodies. The present study presents an attractive approach to help alleviate the burden of peanut allergies in children, where the risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction to accidentally eaten peanut is significant (Read more: Approaches to target IgE in allergy).

The initial design of the trial by the IMPACT team of investigators, postulated that due to the ability of oral immunotherapy being able to change the immune system, providing peanut oral immunotherapy early in life, during immune system maturation, might modify a child’s immune response when exposed to peanut.

 Journal article: Jones, S, et al., 2022. Efficacy and safety of oral immunotherapy in children aged 1–3 years with peanut allergy (the Immune Tolerance Network IMPACT trial): a randomised placebo-controlled studyThe Lancet.

 Summary by Stefan Botha

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation