UK Oral Immunotherapy Trial Hailed as “Life Transforming”


Five National Health Service hospitals in the UK are participating in a trial of oral immunotherapy (OIT) to treat food allergies thanks to funding provided by the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation.

OIT is a treatment that involves gradually reintroducing small amounts of an allergen to a patient’s diet. The goal is to desensitize the patient’s immune system to the food and increase the amount of the allergen that can be consumed without causing an allergic reaction.

Sibel Sonmez-Ajtai, pediatric allergy consultant and principal investigator at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:

This study is enabling us to do something we would never have dreamed of doing before – giving patients the foods we know they are allergic to.

This treatment is not a cure for a food allergy, but what it achieves is life-transforming.

To have a patient who has had anaphylaxis to 4mls of milk to then tolerate 90mls within six to eight months is nothing less than a miracle.

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Said Professor Hadan Arshad, head of the Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Service at University Hospital of Southampton:

The Natasha trial aims to do better for people living with food allergies.

Our ultimate aim is a life without the risk of allergic reactions – reactions which for some can be severe and life-threatening.

Trial Successes

11-year-old Thomas Farmer was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy when he was one. After joining the trial, he is now able to eat six peanuts a day.

Said his mom:

[The trial has] taken away so much anxiety around food. For Thomas to be able to achieve all this with no medicine, just off-the-shelf foods, is amazing.

Five-year-old Grace Fisher, who is allergic to milk, has a similar story. Since joining the trial, she is now able to drink over 4oz of milk a day.

Said her mom:

Grace is over six months into this journey and is doing amazing. She is currently on 120ml of milk and loves her daily hot chocolates.

139 people aged 2 to 23 with allergies to peanuts or cow’s milk have begun treatment.

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In Memory of Natasha

On July 17, 2016, after boarding a British Airways flight from London to Nice with her father and a school friend, 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse ate the sandwich she had purchased at Pret A Manger shop at Heathrow. The label on the sandwich made no reference to sesame, to which Natasha was allergic.


Minutes later, she felt ill. She complained of an itchy throat and broke out in hives on her neck and midriff, and her breathing became labored. Her father administered two epinephrine auto-injectors, and she was shortly placed on the floor of the aircraft where a junior doctor again administered epinephrine.

Natasha suffered cardiac arrest and fell unconscious. She was met at the airport by French paramedics and taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Channeling their grief, her parents Tanya and Nadim founded the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation (NARF) in her memory to “make allergy history” and ensure that others would avoid the same tragic end that befell Natasha.

Said Ms Tanya Ednan-Laperouse:

If Natasha were alive today, this is exactly the type of research she would have loved to be part of.

This is a major first step in our mission to make food allergies history. We look forward to seeing the final results.

The full results of the trial are expected in 2027.

Our congratulations to Tanya and Nadim whose steadfast determination brought this trial to the UK.

We remember Natasha, whose memory serves to drive us forward in our mission to eliminate anaphylaxis.

We’re Giving Away Two Auto-Injector Cases Every Day to Commemorate FAAW!
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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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