Allergies are commonly believed to have no cure. Given a large percentage of the population experiences various allergies, with peanut allergy the number one cause of allergy-induced fatalities, it was only a matter of time before scientists chose to explore ways to treat the serious health problem.
Aimmune Therapeutics-funded study (PALISADE) involved almost 500 participants living with serious peanut allergies, aged between 4-17 from the U.S., Canada and Europe, was the largest randomised clinical trial in peanut allergies. The Phase 3 trial met its endpoint on the 20thFebruary after running for approximately a year.
The trial participants were divided into two groups. One group was given a placebo, while the other group received small amounts of peanut protein powder. Participants initially received just half a milligram of powder a day, which was gradually increased every two weeks. After a six month period, a ‘maintenance dose’ of 300 milligrams was reached – equivalent to one peanut per day.
The trial results are offering hope to those living with peanut allergy , given 67.2 per cent of participants taking the peanut protein tolerated a single highest dose of at least 600 mg (equivalent to two peanuts) with no more than mild symptoms. Only four per cent of placebo patients on the other hand could tolerate this dose.
The investigational medicine, AR101, is an oral immunotherapy designed to ‘desensitise’ individuals – the idea being that people can protect themselves from accidental exposure by gradually building up a tolerance level.
“Until recently there has been nothing to offer peanut allergy sufferers, other than education around peanut avoidance and recognition and self-treatment of allergic reactions”.
Although this new treatment does not offer a cure for peanut allergy, it does alleviate some of the stresses involving hidden traces of peanuts in packaged food products.