New Treatments Might Be Able To Cure People Of Food Allergies

Several new studies show encouraging signs.

More and more kids are developing food allergies, but a cure might be on the way.

At Stanford University, a series of new trials that gradually exposes people to their allergy is turning in remarkable success. 67 percent to 80 percent of patients with severe allergies to peanuts were able to tolerate eating one or more peanuts after the trial was over, according to TODAY.com.  

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"In 2003 there were no companies trying to get a product out to be approved for food allergy therapy," Dr. Kari Nadeau, who is heading the trials, told TODAY. "And now there are 17... And over the last couple years, the FDA has been very promotional in support of fast-track designation. The FDA is allowing us to move forward to get some drugs approved."

It's not just peanuts, either. In Australia, new trials are being run using probiotics to treat kids with egg allergies. 

"The idea is that the probiotics somehow help the immune system deal better with the allergen," Dr. Ginni Mansberg told 7News in Australia. "Egg allergies are actually the most common food allergy among children."

It's unclear why allergy rates are increasing globally, but around eight percent of U.S. children have at least one kind of food allergy. Nadeau thinks that, even in the most severe allergies, this new treatment could help kids build up a tolerance. It would have a life-changing impact for people whose food allergies are sometimes so severe they can't even be in the same room as a certain ingredient. 

"Maybe before you could react to a speck of peanut flour," explained Nadeau. "By every day training your immune system to build its strength, you increase the threshold." 

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