Peanut free!!

peanut allergies, allergens, food allergies, and Technology

Expert sees peanut allergy solution within 5 years

Posted by Dave on May 6, 2008

Expert sees peanut allergy solution within 5 years

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) – A form of immunotherapy that could get rid of a person’s allergy to peanuts is likely within five years, even as the condition appears to grow more and more common, a U.S. expert said on Thursday.

Peanut allergy often appears in the first three years of life, with the allergic reaction to eating peanuts ranging from a minor irritation all the way to a life-threatening, whole-body allergic response called anaphylaxis.

Many children grow out of other food allergies such as milk or eggs, but only about 20 percent lose their peanut allergy.

Dr. Wesley Burks, a food allergy expert at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, wrote in the Lancet medical journal that a solution appears to be on the horizon.

“I think there’s some type of immunotherapy that will be available in five years. And the reason I say that is that there are multiple types of studies that are ongoing now,” Burks said in a telephone interview.

Ideally, such a therapy would change a person’s immune response to peanuts from an allergic one to a nonallergic one, Burks said.

He said one possible approach is using engineered peanut proteins as immunotherapy. Other approaches are showing promise, he said, including the use of Chinese herbal medicine in animal research.

Genetic engineering may also produce an allergen-free peanut, Burks said.

But he said that because several peanut proteins are involved in the allergic response, the process of altering enough of the peanut allergens to make a modified peanut that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction would probably render the new peanut no longer a peanut.

“You could end up with a soybean,” Burks said.

He said peanut allergy affects about 1 percent of children under age of 5, and that in the past 15 years more children have been diagnosed with the condition.

He cited research showing the condition becoming more common — doubling among young children from 0.4 percent in 1997 to 0.8 percent in 2002 in one U.S. study

It is unclear why it is becoming more common, he said. One theory he cited was the “hygiene hypothesis,” which holds that too little exposure to infectious agents in early childhood can raise one’s susceptibility to allergic reactions.

Burks said other researchers have suggested that if a pregnant woman eat peanuts, her baby has a higher risk of becoming allergic.

Symptoms of peanut allergy includes skin reactions such as hives, itching around the mouth and throat, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, wheezing and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis — a medical emergency. (Editing by Maggie Fox and Xavier Briand)

Related articles from Google News

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Expert sees peanut allergy solution within 5 years”

  1. Cjros said

    Too much of anything can harm you. As a child’s immune system is forming, it is probebly unwise to assault it with highly complex protiens such as peanuts. Removing the protiens altogether give the body no chance to adapt and accept those protiens, either.

    If you change the protien of the plant, could not somebody be allergic to this new protien? And is changing people or our foods using drugs, or genetic manipulation, an acceptable solution? I would wager that 90% of serious allergies could be avoided through properly educated parenting, and I might sum that statement up with one word: moderation.

  2. […] the trick. Visiting your local drug store and reading the labels on these medications will offer a peanut allergy solution. More severe outbreaks will require hospitalization or a trip to your local emergency room. While […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: