New Food Allergy Treatment on the Horizon

By: Allana Mortell

The word, "allergy," doesn't necessarily prompt feelings of positivity, especially when talking about food and the massive development of food allergies all over the world. Two of the biggest allergens are milk and peanut, which, alongside six others, account for the estimated 90% of allergic reactions in adults and children. The sensitivity surrounding allergies, in particular, treatment of such, is about to be slashed, thanks to new developments by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and Duke University.

Dr. Robert Wood, the Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Johns Hopkins recently presented a study that suggests providing a longer period of sublingual therapy, a method of treatment that puts small amounts of the allergen solution under the tongue of the person affected, could result in fewer allergic reactions from the treatment. Immunotherapy, or the building up of the immune system by gradually introducing small amounts of the allergen, was the original treatment to help those with food allergies. Within that category, sublingual and oral immunotherapy came into play - both different, but when combined together could potentially help those individuals with food allergies eat those trigger foods without any symptoms.

In a medical setting focusing on thirty children with cow's milk allergies, Wood and his team found that by performing a longer period of sublingual therapy, combined soon after with a shorter period of oral immunotherapy, where that small amount of allergen is swallowed, symptoms were slowly improved.

 CNN reported, "the results suggested that children who went through a year of sublingual therapy followed by one to two years of oral immunotherapy were less likely to have significant allergic reactions while undergoing the oral immunotherapy." Though this fascinating research is still in the early phases, (reports suggest the information and treatment wouldn't be made public for a possible six to eight years), the results shown have made vast improvements within this sticky situation of allergies.

While the belief should hold true regarding those with allergies staying as far away from their allergens as possible, the research and results Wood and his team conducted could certainly alter that belief, striking gold on such a sensitive, case-ridden topic.

Photo: iamshimone 

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