Exciting breakthrough in Peanut Allergy treatment

Australian researchers indicate that an unusual treatment which can help children overcome peanut allergies will provide relief from reactions for up to four years. Peanut allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, and one of the most common causes of food allergy deaths.

Key points:

  • Children given peanut protein treatment still allergy free four years later

  • Findings suggest treatment can be long-lasting

  • Plans to turn the treatment into a product


Professor Mimi Tang, from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, developed a treatment where kids with peanut allergies were given a probiotic called lactobacillus rhamnosus, with a peanut protein, once a day for 18 months.

One month after stopping treatment they found more than 80 per cent of children who received the protein and probiotic could tolerate peanuts without any allergic symptoms at the end of the trial.

The same children were then tested four years later.

Professor Tang said 70 per cent of the children were still able to eat peanuts without allergic reactions.

"These findings suggest our treatment is effective in inducing long-term tolerance, up to four years after completing treatment and is safe," she said.

"Two thirds of the treated participants were able to continue regular peanut ingestion and more than half were ingesting moderate-to-large amounts of peanuts on a regular basis."

New treatment can help children overcome peanut allergies

“We had children who came into the study allergic to peanuts, having to avoid peanuts in their diet, being very vigilant around that, carrying a lot of anxiety,” she said.

“At the end of treatment, and even four years later, many of these children who had benefited from our probiotic peanut therapy could now live like a child who didn’t have peanut allergy.” The results have been published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. If confirmed by larger clinical studies, the broader hope is that the treatment can impact more food allergies among children.

“This is a major step forward in identifying an effective treatment to address the food allergy problem in Western societies,” Prof Tang said.

Researchers from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute said larger studies of the probiotic peanut protein treatment were needed to assess long-term safety outcomes.

It is also running a trial seeing whether children can overcome peanut allergies by simply taking the probiotic or whether the peanut protein is needed as well.

Information from ABC, SBS and news.com.au