This new treatment could be a game-changer for those with peanut allergies

For those of us coping with peanut allergies, there’s hope on the horizon. A new drug that’s being tested by Aimmune Therapeutics has shown progress in desensitizing children with peanut allergies. The drug is actually a peanut protein powder capsule that, when sprinkled onto foods in small doses, can train a child’s immune system to react differently to peanuts,

"It changes the way the immune system sees 'peanut,' so it changes it from seeing it as something dangerous to something that is safe," Dr. Jonathan Tam told CBS News. Dr. Tam is a pediatric allergy specialist who helped recruit test subjects to test Aimmune's new product.

The study conducted by Aimmune introduced about 500 children, aged four to 17, to larger increments of their peanut powder as the test period went on. After the six-month test period was up, 67% of the participants could handle eating about two peanuts without suffering an allergic attack. This amount is enough to possibly prevent a deadly reaction, CBS News reports.

Dr. Tam continued, "It's not going to be for everybody but for certain families that are very anxious about having accidental exposures…this is a great therapy for them."

However, there’s still a long way to go before Aimmune Therapy’s product can be released to the public.

The study still needs to be reviewed by experts in the field. Because, like a vaccine, this drug introduces a small dose of peanut powder into a child’s immune system, the side effects could be problematic for those who are extremely allergic.

"There are some risks when you take the drug. It can cause reaction to peanut. Stomach pains, mouth itching," Dr. Tam stated. "Up to 19% of the kids had to drop out from the study because of these side effects."

Aimmune plans to file for FDA approval by the end of this year. If and when this new treatment hits the market, parents can breathe a sigh of relief and worry less about their child’s peanut allergy.

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