Peanut Vaccine Shows Promise

in Food Allergy, Peanut & Tree Nut
Published: December 12, 2010

Allergy shots or immunotherapy for those allergic to peanuts may become a reality in the next decade. Australian researchers discovered fragments of peanut protein that appear to desensitize individuals with the allergy.

Lead Australian researcher Robyn O’Hehir and her team at The Alfred and Monash University in Melbourne found a peanut protein fragment that is large enough to be detected by the body but small enough that it does not provoke anaphylaxis, the severe form of allergic reaction. This finding could be a key component to creating a vaccine against peanut allergy.

This is encouraging news since currently, there is no treatment for food allergy. Also, peanut is one of the most common food allergens to cause anaphylaxis.

What’s more, similar vaccines for cat allergy are already in use and a vaccine for grass allergy based on O’Hehir’s research has recently been taken to trial by a British company. More studies are needed, however, for peanut allergy and the researchers hope to be able to start clinical trials within the next three years.

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