AAAAI: Peanut Allergy May Arise By Sensitization Via Skin

March 20, 2008

Research exploring the mechanism by which peanut allergy develops as well as a potential desensitization treatment for peanut allergic individuals were among study findings presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this month.

THURSDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Research exploring the mechanism by which peanut allergy develops as well as a potential desensitization treatment for peanut allergic individuals were among study findings presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this month.

S.M.H. Chan, M.D., of King's College in London, England, and colleagues used skin and gastrointestinal homing memory T-cell markers to explore the mechanism by which individuals become sensitized to peanuts. The researchers hypothesize that sensitization to peanut through the skin may predispose to the development of peanut allergy, while oral sensitization leads to tolerance.

In a second study, Scott D. Nash, M.D., and colleagues at Duke University in Durham, N.C., investigated whether peanut oral immunotherapy could be used to desensitize peanut allergic children to peanut protein. The researchers treated 13 peanut allergic children with a three-phase regimen of peanut oral immunotherapy followed by an open food challenge of peanut flour. Eight patients had no symptoms in response to the food challenge, and the other five experienced mild allergic symptoms only.

"Peanut oral immunotherapy, we feel, is safe and effective for peanut-allergic patients, and we feel that our immunologic findings for peanut oral immunotherapy are similar to what we find for other forms of oral immunotherapy, Nash said.

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