"Researchers took a group of 23 children allergic to peanuts and gave them small amounts of peanuts to eat daily, usually starting with 1 mg. The peanut quantity was increased carefully every two weeks, until the children could eat about five peanuts.
They took this dose daily for at least six weeks, mostly tolerating it well except for some temporary mouth itching or abdominal pain, he said. The results showed that 21 of the 23 children, or 91 percent, can safely eat at least five peanuts every day without any reaction.
"I'm confident that within the next three to five years will we have a treatment that we can offer to our patients, which is not necessarily a cure," Nowak-Wegrzyn told CNN.
The immunotherapy method, which Nowak-Wegrzyn called a "big advancement in the field," has also shown promise in a study by Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children's Hospital. Results presented in March 2009 showed that four of nine children allergic to peanuts could be taken off the therapy and eat peanuts freely after 2½ years of the therapy.
But there are many unknowns about this treatment, and it's not clear how permanent the state of desensitization is, she said, and this immunotherapy method is not a cure."
Eight top allergens account for 90 % of all food allergies. They can be remembered by the mnemonic TEMPS WFS:
Tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
Egg white (not egg yolk)
Shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp)
Fish (bass, cod, flounder)
Food challenges, mind map diagram.
Blog articles from AllergyNotes
Office-based oral immunotherapy for food allergy is safe and effective - according to Texas allergist group that use it http://goo.gl/S4N8W
Peanut oral immunotherapy (20 peanuts) induces desensitization, however questions about long-term tolerance remain. JACI, 2011.
Eosinophilic esophagitis after specific oral tolerance induction for egg protein http://goo.gl/fzmip
Oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy - interview with Dr. Wesley Burks: clearly 15-20% will not tolerate the treatment http://goo.gl/U45UB
Peanut Allergy: An Evolving Clinical Challenge (review), 2011.
Image source: Roasted peanuts as snack food, Wikipedia, public domain.