A large study provides the strongest evidence that children and adolescents can be sensitive to peanut allergies through controlled, increased exposure to a substance that can trigger life-threatening reactions – a progress that specialists say is likely to encourage the development of new food allergies. drugs.
After one year of treatment with an experimental drug made by Aimmune Therapeutics, 67 percent of children and adolescents with peanut allergies were able to safely swallow the equivalent of at least two beans, compared with only 4 percent of those using placebo, according to the study. published in the New England Journal of Medicine. But the improvements came at a cost – almost all study participants who received drugs, pharmaceutical preparations for peanut flour, experienced side effects from several types, and one in 10 withdrew from the trial due to gastrointestinal, skin or respiratory. systemic allergic problems or reactions.
Over the years, smaller studies have shown that increased exposure to peanut allergens can reduce people's sensitivity to potentially life-threatening effects, which can include anaphylactic shock, but some outside experts say that large and systematic studies of 550 people can cause for the first treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The majority of participants were between the ages of 4 and 17, the group where the researchers found the drug to be effective.
"I think we will start now where there is no approved treatment for food allergies, to a landscape where possible, in a few years, we will have several choices to offer our patients," said Corinne Keet, a pediatric allergist in The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine was not involved in this study, and said that it would be a "sea change" given the lack of choices today. "In the short term, products that might come to market are not drugs, but I think there are a number of different approaches that are being explored – and overall, the goal is more on healing medicine."
Aimmune, which funded the research, plans to submit the drug to federal regulators next month and anticipates it could be launched by the end of 2019. It is unclear how much it will cost, how long the patient must take it, and whether it will be covered by insurance.
"For now, suggestions will be for ongoing care," said Wayne Shreffler, director of the Food Allergy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the study authors who has received trial funding and fees from Aimmune. "Further research will be needed to address whether after a few years, some people can change the usual dose. Most study participants tolerate treatment, and I hope the same will apply to its use in the 'real world' when and if Approved. "
This treatment is not a drug, and the regimen may not be attractive to all people with food allergies. Patients come to the clinic every two weeks for their dose to gradually increase under supervision, for six months. They also take medicine at home every day.
"I think it's important to remember what the goal of this treatment is – the goal is not to allow people to eat nuts freely," said Daniel Adelman, head of Aimmune medical officer. "Children go out of the house every morning, and their parents are worried, this is the day they will be exposed to peanuts and potentially have life-threatening reactions; the purpose of this treatment is to help protect people from those who are potentially threatening life. reaction. "
Aimmune will expand its approach to other food allergies, testing whether the same drug can work to reduce children's sensitivity to egg allergies next year.
Experts warn that this kind of regimen should not start at home.
There are around 6 million children with food allergies in the United States. In the accompanying editorial, Michael Perkin, from the Population Health Research Institute in St. George & # 39; s University of London shows that the potential market for therapy is billions of dollars. The Aimmune drug is peanut flour made through the strict manufacturing process required by pharmaceutical products, which Adelman emphasizes means to be free from variability that can bring the danger of giving the wrong dose.
Keet said one concern was whether parents and children would understand drug boundaries.
"We will still ask patients to review labels, and not consume anything with nuts in them," said Keet. "We don't know what people will do with this partial protection – this can give people the wrong feeling of security."
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from syndicated feeds.)