Immunotherapy may reduce peanut allergy

May 06

The Toronto Star’s Health Zone has started a series of food allergy related articles in responce to Food Allergy Month.

This article reviews a new study from Mcmaster University and Dalhousie University in Halifax where 30 children with peanut allergies are going through the ingestion immunotherapy process.

One notable difference in thsi study compared to the one done in the US is that they will be allowing in children with severe reactions. The study in the US worked only with children whose allergic reactions were mild.


Encouraged by the positive results of British and American trials on oral immunotherapy and peanut allergies, Canada will soon begin its own research.

The study, being run by Hamilton’s McMaster University and Dalhousie University in Halifax, will focus on 30 children with peanut allergies. They will ingest small quantities of peanuts over an extended period of time.

The British and American trials have shown that gradual and steady exposure to the peanut allergen can reduce or, in some cases, eliminate reactions altogether.

Researchers aren’t calling it a cure, but it could be a big step in the right direction.

“Children in the U.S. and England have been given tiny amounts of peanuts and it appears to be working,” says Dr. Susan Waserman, an allergist at McMaster and one of the Canadian study organizers. “Right now, there’s no treatment beyond avoidance and the use of (epinephrine auto-injectors), so this is all good news.”

The project will be presented to an ethics board in the next few months, with the work beginning shortly thereafter.

Read the full article here.