A new drug prevents severe allergic reactions to various foods, including peanuts and milk

A new drug prevents severe allergic reactions to various foods, including peanuts and milk
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A new drug can prevent serious allergic reactions to small amounts of allergenic foods in adults and children, such as peanuts or milk, according to a new study by scientists at the College of Medicine. Medicine to Stanford (United State).

The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results suggest that regular use of the drug, omalizumab, can protect people from severe allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing, if they accidentally eat a small amount of a food to which they are allergic.

“I'm excited that we have a promising new treatment for patients with multiple food allergies. This new approach has shown really good responses to many of the foods that cause allergies,” says the study's lead author, Dr. Sharon Chintharaja. Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Acting Director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford Medicine.

“Patients with food allergies face the daily threat of life-threatening reactions due to accidental exposure,” said the study's lead author, Dr. Robert Wood, Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (US). “The study showed that omalizumab can be a layer of protection against small accidental exposures,” he said.

Omalizumab, which was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat conditions such as allergic asthma and chronic urticaria, binds to and inactivates the antibodies that cause many types of allergic diseases. Based on data collected in the new study, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on February 16 approved omalizumab to reduce the risk of food allergies.

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All study participants had severe allergies to peanuts and at least two other foods, such as milk, eggs, wheat, cashews, hazelnuts or walnuts.

After four months of monthly or bimonthly injections of omalizumab, two-thirds of the 118 participants who received the drug safely ate small amounts of the food that caused their allergy.

It should be noted that 38.4% of study participants were under 6 years of age, an age group at high risk of accidentally consuming allergenic foods.

Allergies are common

Food allergies affect about 8 percent of children and 10 percent of adults in the United States. People with severe allergies are advised to completely avoid foods containing allergens, but common allergens such as peanuts, milk, eggs and wheat may be hidden in many places, which can pose a significant challenge to daily activities such as attending parties and eating out. .

“Food allergies have significant social and psychological repercussions, including the threat of allergic reactions in the event of accidental exposure, some of which can be life-threatening,” Chintrajah says. Households also face the financial impact of purchasing expensive foods to avoid allergens, he added.

In the best treatment available for food allergies, oral immunotherapy, patients take small, gradually increasing doses of the allergenic foods under a doctor's supervision to build tolerance.

But oral immunotherapy itself can trigger allergic responses, and desensitization to allergens can take months or years, and the process is particularly long for people with multiple food allergies, as they often have one.

Once desensitized to the allergen, patients must continue to eat regularly to maintain tolerance, but they often develop aversions to foods that they have to avoid for a long time.

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“There is a real need for a treatment that goes beyond monitoring and offers options for our patients with food allergies,” Chintrajah said.

to'Omalizumab It is an injected antibody that binds to and inactivates all types of organismsImmunoglobulin H, or IgE, is the allergen-causing molecule found in the blood and immune cells in the body. Until now,Omalizumab It appears to be able to relieve sensitivity to some food allergens at the same time. “We think it should have the same effect regardless of the food in question,” he said. Chintharaja.

Injections prevent serious reactions

The study included 177 children with at least three food allergies each, 38% aged 1 to 5 years, 37% aged 6 to 11 years, and 24% aged 12 years or older.

When testing was repeated, 79 patients (66.9%) who took… Omalizumab They could tolerate at least 600 mg of peanut protein, the amount found in two or three peanuts, compared with only four patients (6.8%) who took placebo. Similar proportions of patients showed improvement in their reactions to other foods in the study.

About 80 percent of patients who took Omalizumab They were able to consume small amounts of at least one allergenic food without causing an allergic reaction, 69 percent of patients were able to consume small amounts of two allergenic foods, and 47 percent were able to eat small amounts of all three foods Allergens.

to'Omalizumab It is safe and does not cause any side effects, except for some cases in which mild reactions occur at the injection site. This is the first time that the safety of this study has been evaluated in children as young as one year old.

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Further investigation is required

According to the researchers, further study is necessary to better understand how this happensOmalizumab For people with food allergies.

“We have many unanswered questions: How long should patients take this drug? Have we permanently modulated the immune system? What factors predict which patients will have a stronger response?” he says. Chintharaja. He concluded by saying: “We still don't know.”

The team plans studies to answer these questions and others, such as finding out what kind of monitoring is needed to determine when a patient has developed a tolerance to allergenic foods.

Chintharaja He has noted that many patients with food allergies also have other allergic conditions that are treated OmalizumabSuch as asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever and allergies to environmental triggers such as mold, dogs, cats, or dust mites) or eczema. “A drug that can improve all allergies is exactly what we hope for,” he said.

He added: “The medicine can be especially useful for young children with severe food allergies, because they tend to put things in their mouths and may not understand the risks of their allergies.”

The drug could also make it safer for family doctors. “It's something our food allergy community has been waiting for for a long time,” he says. Chintharaja. “It's a medication regimen that's easy to implement in a doctor's office, and many allergists are already using it for other allergies,” he said.

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