Cleveland Clinic researchers find that starting peanut oral immunotherapy under medical supervision during infancy can improve a child’s immune response to the food over time.
CLEVELAND – Peanut allergies affect more than one million kids in the United States and only a few will outgrow them.
That’s why Cleveland Clinic researchers are looking at how oral immunotherapy can help them build tolerance to the food they’re allergic to.
“Peanut oral immunotherapy, or oral immunotherapy, is actually a therapy where we give very, very, very small amounts of a food – we don’t want to cause a reaction. It’s monitored in your allergist’s office,” explained Sandra Hong, MD, allergist for Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Hong is one of the study’s authors and said they reviewed data from 22 babies under a year old who had received peanut oral immunotherapy.
During the treatment, the infants consumed increasing amounts of peanut protein over time.
Dr. Hong said they found all 22 went on to tolerate up to two peanuts worth of peanut protein.
Some, eventually, could handle the equivalence of about nine peanuts in their diet without having an allergic reaction.
Results show that starting peanut oral immunotherapy under medical supervision during infancy can improve a child’s immune response to the food.
“These children don’t have to worry about accidental exposures anymore. They don’t have to worry about, does it contain peanut? They don’t have to worry about peanut oil – all of those things, they’re tolerating it,” she said.
Dr. Hong reiterates peanut oral immunotherapy must be done under the care of a trained allergist because it can trigger allergic reactions.
She adds they’re using oral immunotherapy to help with other food allergies as well.
The study entitled “Safety and effectiveness of peanut oral immunotherapy in children under 12 months” was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
- Study Explores Oral Immunotherapy to Treat Babies with Peanut Allergies — Cleveland Clinic Press Release
- Safety and effectiveness of peanut oral immunotherapy in children under 12 months — JACI: In Practice