Cure For Peanut Allergies On the Horizon

by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP on May 17, 2018



Peanut allergies affect 2% of U.S. children and are the leading cause of death by food allergies. Unlike many of them, peanut allergies are rarely outgrown, and there are currently no treatments. People with peanut allergies must scrutinize everything they eat and keep a lifesaving epinephrine injection pen on hand in case of an accidental exposure.

Pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop an FDA-approved treatment that will effectively desensitize peanut allergy, causing the immune system to chill out and not react hysterically to peanut protein exposure. News articles in February reported that the drug company Aimmune Therapeutics succeeded in a phase 3 clinical trial and is closing in on getting an approved treatment to market.

Aimmune’s oral drug, called AR101, contains tiny doses of peanut protein that are sprinkled daily over food to expose people to gradually increasing amounts of the allergen. This makes the immune cells less reactive, ultimately blunting the immune response to peanut protein.

A clinical trial showed that 67% of 4- to 17-year-olds who received the drug could tolerate a 600-milligram dose of peanut protein by the end of the study, compared with 4% of patients on a placebo. The positive trial enables Aimmune to apply for FDA approval, which the company says it plans to do by the end of 2018.

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About the Author

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP IDEA Author/Presenter

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD is a board-certified pediatrician, registered dietitian, and ACE Health Coach. She is committed to providing evidence-based nutrition and fitness information to health professionals and consumers alike in a way that is logical, practical and directly applicable to readers’ lives. She has authored over 100 publications and book chapters, all which are based on the latest scientific evidence and presented in a manner that is easy-to-understand and apply. She is Director of Healthcare Solutions for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) having written the nutrition chapters for each of ACE’s textbooks, the ACE Fitness Nutrition Manual and Specialty Certification, and recorded several Webinars and online courses. Furthermore, as a spokesperson for ACE, the largest fitness certifying and advocacy organization in the country, she informs broadcast and print media outlets throughout the U.S. on pertinent nutrition and fitness issues. She is author '"Eat Your Vegetables!" and other mistakes parents make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters'. She presented a similar topic at IDEA World 2009; the video is available for purchase through IDEA. Certifications: ACE, ACSM and NSCA