Lifesaving cure to peanut allergy a step closer after $8 million boost

Imagine not having to worry if the contents of your child’s school lunchbox contain peanuts.

Not for the convenience but for the peace of mind that you haven’t put a child’s life at risk in your rush to get everyone out the door in the morning.

Work at Melbourne’s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute to find a cure to one of the world’s deadliest allergies has received an $8 million cash boost.

The new treatment aims to switch off the deadly reaction by gradually introducing peanuts with probiotics to sufferers over time.

A randomised trial of 62 children, aged one to 10, has already experienced success, with 82 per cent found to have developed a tolerance to peanuts up to five weeks after finishing 18 months of treatment.

The results were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Capital investment firm OneVentures is behind the large cash injection towards the Probiotic Therapies for Allergy treatment.

The boost brings the treatment one step closer to the frontline where doctors are treating kids with peanut allergies – the number one cause of life-threatening anaphylaxis.

“Peanut allergies are a massive problem and this is an innovative approach. There’s a clear path to a marketable product here that could have tremendous impact globally,” OneVentures managing partner Paul Kelly told The Australian. “It’s a potential cure.”

How the allergy treatment works

The latest treatment included participants being given probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus and gradually peanut flour was introduced.

The results are promising considering past trials using just the peanut protein resulted in less than a third of patients developing a tolerance.

The idea behind the treatment is to create the right environment to steer the immune system away from the usual reaction of hives, stomach pains and vomiting by combining a probiotic with the allergen.

Further trials involving more than 200 children across Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth are underway.

“Based on the results we have seen to date, if nine children were given probiotic and peanut therapy, seven would benefit,”Lead researcher Professor Mimi Tang told the Herald Sun.

“This is a very promising result, and we look forward to seeing further evidence from the current trial and progressing the development of this approach.”

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