Breakthrough in Peanut Allergy Treatment for Children

A clinical trial completed four years ago has proven a great success, allowing children to eat peanuts without any allergic reaction.

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A food allergy is an abnormal response to food. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Symptoms can range from itching, vomiting and swelling of the tongue to diarrhoea, hives and trouble breathing. Common foods include cow’s milk, eggs, shellfish, wheat, rice, fruit, tree nuts and peanuts. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction commonly causing death; a peanut allergy was its most common cause until a breakthrough was made by an Australian researcher who pioneered a new treatment known as PPOIT. The treatment combines a probiotic (live bacteria and yeasts) with peanut oral immunotherapy (a method of inducing your immune system to tolerate food you react to) and is designed to reprogram your immune system’s response to peanuts and learn to tolerate them.

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Clinical Trials

48 children enrolled on the PPOIT trial – some were given a placebo, while others were given a combination of probiotic with peanut protein in increasing amounts. The trial ended in 2013 with 82% of children who received the probiotic considered tolerant of peanuts, compared with 4% in the placebo group. After four years the majority of the 82% group were still eating peanuts as part of their normal diet.


The children were given structured questionnaires about consumption and any adverse reactions. They were given skin-prick tests to measure the concentration of peanut-specific antibodies and finally asked to take part in double-blind placebo food challenge, allowing researchers to access their desensitization. Their findings suggested that the treatment gave an effective long-lasting tolerance and is a safe treatment for peanut allergies.


This new treatment will allow children the freedom to eat normally without the worry of checking ingredients in the food they eat and is a major development in finding treatments for food allergies in Western societies.


Patient recruitment services from have a crucial role in enlisting patients for clinical trials. Without them, researchers would not be able to test new drugs and treatments for life-threatening conditions.


The high-quality medical care we enjoy today is due to years of hard work by scientists, researchers and medical professionals, who continue the search for cures and treatments to an ever-increasing number of medical conditions. Long may it continue.

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