A peanut allergy cure might be on the horizon

Food allergies are a serious issue for many people – peanuts being one of the most problematic. And for some reason it’s getting worse, as IFLScience spelled out: Food allergies are on the rise in developed nations, but scientists aren’t sure exactly why this is happening. Between 1997 and 2011, food allergies in children increased […]

Food allergies are a serious issue for many people – peanuts being one of the most problematic. And for some reason it’s getting worse, as IFLScience spelled out:

Food allergies are on the rise in developed nations, but scientists aren’t sure exactly why this is happening. Between 1997 and 2011, food allergies in children increased by around 50%. Eight foods account for around 90% of all reactions, including wheat, milk, shellfish and peanuts. The latter is among the most common food allergies, affecting around 1% of people in the U.S. and as many as 3% of children in Australia.

Those numbers are startling. But researchers at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia are making progress with potentially significant immunotherapy treatment involving doses of a probiotic (Lactobacillus rhamnosus) along with peanut protein.

After a 18-month period, more than 80 percent of the 28 kids given the treatment became tolerant to peanuts. These results are pretty astonishing, but the researchers don’t know exactly how long the effects last quite yet. Still, major progress for what can be a fatal allergy for some people.

These researchers aren’t the only ones potentially tackling the peanut allergy. French biopharmaceutical company, DBV Technologies, has created the “Viaskin” patch which takes a similar approach by delivering peanut extract to slowly sensitize those with the allergy. The final stages of clinical trials are approaching, so the patch could be available by 2018, according to Fast Co Exist.