UBC researchers demonstrated in 2019 that pre-schoolers can safely overcome peanut allergies with a treatment called oral immunotherapy.
Now they have evidence that the earlier pre-schoolers start this treatment, the better.
This real-world study focused on infants younger than 12 months old and reveals that not only is oral immunotherapy effective against peanut allergies, it’s even safer for this age group than it is for toddlers and older pre-schoolers.
“This treatment is affordable, very safe and highly effective, particularly if we can get the treatment going before the infant is 12 months old,” said Dr. Edmond Chan, the study’s senior author who is also a clinical professor and head of allergy and immunology in UBC’s department of pediatrics at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, looked specifically at outcomes for a group of 69 infants among a larger study group of 452 children aged five and under.
Oral immunotherapy is a treatment protocol in which a patient consumes small amounts of the allergenic food — in this case, peanut flour — with the dose gradually increased to a determined maximum amount. The aim is to desensitize the child until they can have a full serving of peanut protein without triggering a dangerous reaction. To sustain their immunity, the child must continue to eat peanut products on a regular basis long term.
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