Hannah Kim / Rock Canyon High School 12th Grade
Peanut Allergies are one of the most common food allergies in both children and adults, but a recent discovery out of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has the potential to put an end to the suffering.
A new oral immunotherapy treatment has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to go under clinical trials. PalforziaTM, the new immunotherapy treatment, is the first FDA approved treatment to desensitize children with peanut allergies. Desensitization requires exposing patients to gradually increasing doses of an allergen to allow the body to build immunity to a specific allergy. According to Jonathan Spergel, MD, PhD, Section Chief of CHOP’s Food Allergy Center, the new drug may not be a cure, but “it will allow patients to live their lives with less fear of having a serious or fatal reaction to accidentally ingesting peanut protein.”
According to The PALISADE Group of Clinical Investigators, Phase III of the clinical trials began by screening patients between ages 4-55 who showed peanut-allergy symptoms after ingesting 100 mg of peanut protein. During the double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials, patients either received a placebo or the oral immunotherapy drug. The end point of the trials were the participants who were able to ingest 600 mg of peanut protein without showing allergic reactions. At the end, phase III concluded with patients showing less severe symptoms from ingesting peanut protein after undergoing the oral immunotherapy.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Food Allergy Center works towards the overall goal of desensitizing major allergies in an attempt to relieve worries and fears over severe allergies. According to Terri F. Brown-Whitehorn, MD, attending physician in the Food Allergy Center, “Oral immunotherapy won’t work for everyone, but when it does, it’s amazing… It can transform a child’s life.”
At CHOP’s Food Allergy Center, oral immunotherapy is only one form of treatment that is being studied to desensitize allergies. The program is also currently studying skin patches that could desensitize allergies, with the FDA expecting to review these treatments some time in the near future.
<Hannah Kim / Rock Canyon High School 12th Grade