"In this phase 3 trial of oral immunotherapy in children and adolescents who were highly allergic to peanut, treatment with AR101 resulted in higher doses of peanut protein that could be ingested without dose-limiting symptoms and in lower symptom severity during peanut exposure at the exit food challenge than placebo", wrote the study authors of the treatment being developed by Aimmune Therapeutics, which funded the study.
"We were pleased to find that two-thirds of the people in the study were able to tolerate the equivalent of two peanuts per day after nine to 12 months of treatment, and half the patients tolerated the equivalent of four peanuts", noted Tilles, a Seattle allergist and ACAAI past president.
There are now no approved treatments that prevent or reduce the symptoms of any type of food allergy. For the study, 551 participants with peanut allergies were given either a placebo or AR101 for six months, followed by six months of maintenance therapy.
Prof Hourihane said there could be FDA approval for the treatment next year and it may be available commercially by 2020.
Dr. Dean Mitchell, an allergist, says the clinical trial demonstrates that it is possible for some people with a peanut allergy to protect themselves by slowly building up a tolerance to peanuts over time.
A peanut allergy treatment may be available starting next year, but it isn't a cure.
"Until recently there has been nothing to offer peanut allergy suffers other than education around peanut avoidance and recognition and self-treatment of allergic reactions".
For parents of kids with peanut allergies, a new study holds "lifesaving" hope.
Peanut allergy was generally higher in males and racial minorities across all age groups. "The large majority of the study participants tolerated the treatment, and I expect the same will be true of its use in the real world when and if it's approved".
But that improvement came at a cost - almost all of the study participants who received the drug, a pharmaceutical-grade preparation of peanut flour, suffered adverse events of some type, and 1 in 10 withdrew from the trial because of gastrointestinal, skin or respiratory problems or systemic allergic reactions.
During the study, participants were split into groups and given either a capsule of peanut protein or a dummy powder. Parikh calls the drug "promising in that by making patients less reactive they are less likely to have a life-threatening reaction".
"Almost 6 million American children are now living with a life-threatening food allergy", said Ciaccio.