Australian researchers are recruiting children with peanut allergies for a clinical trial, with an aim to develop a life-changing treatment based on promising results from a 2015 study.
The Murdoch Children's Research Institute published the results of the study last year. The study included 62 children with allergies who were given daily concoction of peanut protein accompanied by a dose of probiotics over an 18-month period.
‘Daily concoction of peanut protein accompanied by a dose of probiotics increased the tolerance of children with peanut allergies.
The researchers gradually increased the dose of peanut protein over the course of the trial. The findings showed that more than 80 percent of the children who consumed the peanut protein built up a tolerance and were able to consume the equivalent of 16 peanuts four weeks after the trial.
Lead author of the study Professor Mimi Tang said, "The aim of the study was to identify a treatment for food allergy that would allow children to incorporate peanuts into their diet."
"Only four percent - one child - in the placebo group was able to develop a tolerance, whereas over 80 percent of children who consumed the peanut substance built up a tolerance. All but one of the children who went home eating peanuts after the study was still eating peanuts three months later."
"This trial was a world first. We're excited to have found what we found, it was quite unexpected," she said.
The researchers are hoping to extend the trial to 200 children from Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide after receiving an $18 million funding boost from investment firm, OneVentures and additional funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council.
The researchers hope to see whether children can develop a more long-lasting tolerance, in comparison to the first trial, which was for short-term (two to four weeks).
"If they can incorporate food back into their diet and not have to worry about having a reaction to it, that's the holy grail for us - it's to find a cure," Professor Tang said.
Professor Tang said the treatment could be available in five years if the study again shows successful results.