Study Exposure To Peanut Particles Could Curb Allergy

03.16.09 | FL News Team

Doctors may be on the way to an unlikely remedy for some peanut allergies. Teams at Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children's Hospital gave nearly microscopic pieces of peanut to a group of 33 children with non-life-threatening peanut allergies daily. They then monitored their symptoms and signs of allergic reaction in the blood.

After two years, nine kids were still able to tolerate the treatment and four appeared to be completely allergy-free. Doctors also found those who still had allergic reactions had a higher tolerance for the offending legumes than they had at the beginning of the study. The findings were reported at a meeting of the American Academy of Asthma and Immunology in Washington, DC. 

Researchers say this is the first study to show limited exposure can help someone with a food allergy become tolerant of that food. They hope it will eventually lead to a safe and effective treatment for such allergies, which kill roughly 150 people a year. The AAAI estimates about half of those deaths are from peanut allergies.