In positive news, DBV Technologies, a French firm developing skin patch therapies for various allergens, issued a press release announcing their Viaskin® Peanut patch has received “Breakthrough Therapy” (BT) designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
DBV describes Viaskin as “an electrostatic patch, based on Epicutaneous Immunotherapy, or EPIT®, which administers an allergen directly onto the superficial layers of the skin to activate the immune system by specifically targeting antigen-presenting cells without allowing passage of the antigen into the bloodstream.”
According to a study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, allergies to specific foods can be passed via blood transfusions, though such cases are extremely rare.
The research was initiated after an eight year old Canadian boy with no history of food allergies suddenly experienced an anaphylactic reaction to salmon after receiving a transfusion of platelets as part of ongoing chemotherapy treatment. Four days later he had a reaction to peanuts.
Investigators traced the source of the platelets and found that a single donor had multiple severe food allergies including fish and peanuts.
Though extremely rare, researchers found that food allergies can be passed through an antibody that reacts against allergens, immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is found in blood platelets.
Food challenge: where the patient consumes a food they may be allergic to while the medical staff hovers nearby, ready to inject epinephrine if the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear. Low-tech, dangerous, and the only reliable way to test how severely someone may react to an allergen. Until now.
A blood test resulting from a study led by researchers from The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute and the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute promises to predict which people will have severe allergic reactions to specific foods. The study was published yesterday in The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology accompanied by a press release by Mount Sinai.
Current testing relies on skin pricks and blood tests that detect proteins called allergen-specific IgE produced by the immune system, though these cannot accurately predict the severity of reactions. The study reports that measuring another immune system component, the basophil, can accurately predict how a person will react to specific allergens. The basophil activation test (BAT) requires only a small amount of blood and provides quick results.
“While providing crucial information about their potential for a severe allergic reaction to a food, having blood drawn for BAT testing is a much more comfortable procedure than food challenges.” says first author Ying Song, MD. “Although food challenges are widely practiced, they carry the risk of severe allergic reactions, and we believe BAT testing will provide accurate information in a safer manner.”
Note that BAT testing is currently only approved for research study.
There’s a good reason why we refer to Erin Brockovich as “The Robyn O’Brien of Environmental Issues”.
Ms O’Brien – author, TED speaker, founder of AllergyKids Foundation, and leading advocate for clean, safe, affordable food – hits yet another ball out of the park with her editorial on the recent LEAP (Learning Early about Peanut Allergy) Study. In it, she excoriates the media, study’s authors, and quoted physicians for a lack of disclosure regarding the funding and selection of subjects for the study.
Here’s a sample from the article:
That’s like conducting a diabetes study on sugar and throwing out the diabetics before you start. It skews the results to suggest a false positive when if the food had been given to the entire population, without pre-screening, the results would have been entirely different.
If you don’t know Lisa Rutter, you should. She’s the Director of Education & Community Outreach at FAACT (a wonderful food allergy advocacy) and Founder of the No Nuts Moms Group (a wonderful forum for moms of children with food allergies.) She has two boys – one with severe allergies to peanuts and tree nuts – and another child well on the way.
Yesterday, Lisa was interviewed by Michael Cohen on The Capital City Recap for WILS Radio, Lansing, to discuss the recent LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) study that’s been all over the news. It’s a must-hear for every parent, but especially you food allergy moms struggling with internalizing yet another set of conflicting guidelines.
Hear Lisa describe the circumstances all food allergy parents deal with on a daily basis as well as the monumental decision she must make regarding the early introduction of peanuts in light of LEAP.
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
According to a study led by Gideon Lack of King’s College London, babies at higher risk of developing peanut allergies fed the equivalent of four heaping teaspoons of peanut butter each week beginning between 4 to 11 months old were 80% less likely to develop peanut allergies by their fifth birthday.
Lack launched his study after noticing that Israeli children had a much lower incidence of peanut allergy than Jewish children in the UK and US. Israeli parents are known to give their children “Bamba” snacks made of peanut butter and corn at a very young age.
With funding from the US National Institutes of Health, Lack’s team identified 640 babies at risk of developing peanut allergies because they already had developed an egg allergy or eczema. Half the parents were asked to give their children Bamba snacks or peanuts in some other form before their first birthday.
Allergic Living’s site features an exclusive interview with Dr Helen Brough, lead author of a British study showing an association between high levels of peanut residue in homes, genetic factors for eczema, and increased incidence of peanut allergy.
The study examined peanut residue by vacuuming the sofas in 577 UK homes with babies in the first year of life. These children were later revisited at 8 and 11 years old and tested for peanut allergy along with a mutation in their genes associated with eczema. The results showed that children with the mutation were 3 times as likely to develop peanut allergy in homes with 3 times the quantity of peanut residue found in the household dust.
Announcing the launch of Allergence, a free service designed specifically for families coping with food allergies and celiac disease.
You’ve heard us drone on about the issue many times: Due to lax regulations, the estimated 15 million Americans suffering with food allergies can’t rely on the label alone to determine whether a product is safe for them. Though manufacturers are required to disclose when each of the top eight allergens is an ingredient of a product, the FDA does not require warnings of potential cross-contamination, such as “May contain traces of peanuts” and “Manufactured in a facility that also processes sesame”. You may think a product is safe if these warnings are absent, but you can’t know for sure – especially in cases where there are warnings for some allergens and not others.
Allergence bridges this “ambiguity gap” by going beyond the label to provide consumers detailed information regarding how 11 allergens are processed during the manufacture of each product. We track the FDA’s top 8 (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish) as well as gluten, sesame and mustard, and tell you when each is processed in the same line or facility or whether the product is explicitly marketed free of that allergen. We’ll also tell you whether each product has obtained industry recognized kosher, organic, gluten-free and non-GMO certifications.
See this promotional video describing the service:
Please note that we have removed two product lines from the Safe Snack Guide due to changes in manufacture:
- Sensible Portions (Garden Veggie Straws, Garden Veggie Chips)
- Garden of Eatin’ Tortilla Chips (all varieties)
Please note that we have removed a number of products from the Safe Snack Guide:
- Ritz Crackers – all varieties.
We received a report that two sleeves of the Peanut Butter variety of Ritz Crackerfuls were packaged in a box of the Classic Cheddar variety. Though the individual sleeves were clearly labeled as containing the Peanut Butter variety, this could have led to unthinkable consequences had the error not been discovered by an observant parent before the treat was given to a child.
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