The AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology) wrapped up its annual conference last week. Food allergy was the center of several prominent studies. Here is a re-cap of some of the big ones:
Oral Immunotherapy shows Promise for Egg Allergy- Early results from this study show that egg allergic children may be able to tolerate eggs following a course of ingesting increasing amounts of egg protein. Of course this has all been done in a carefully controlled setting and should not be tried at home. More about that in the video link at the end of this post.
Milk Allergic Children Tolerate Milk heated at high temperatures. The study shows that up to 80% of milk allergic children may be able to eat baked products like cookies and cakes containing milk. Something seems to change within the milk protein when it is heated at a high temperature. Research in this area continues.
Anaphylaxis to Meat is more common than originally thought. The message is that clinicians should investigate whether or not there is a meat allergy when there are unexplained allergy symptoms. In meat allergy, the allergic reaction is to the sugar in the meat, not the protein. This is the first food allergy to stem from sugars. The research shows that meat allergies tend to develop in adults who have tolerated meat all their lives, then, possibly due to a bee sting or tick bite, suddenly become meat allergic.
An Oral Immunotherapy for Peanut Allergy study revealed that children receiving increasing amount of peanut powder, could tolerate 20 peanuts after 10 months of treatment. A different three year study showed a significant number of children who were able to stop immunotherapy and can now eat peanuts successfully.
Check out this video from the conference about when oral immunotherapy may be ready to be used as a regular treatment for food allergy.
When you next visit your allergist, ask about these studies and how they may relate to your situation. I am glad to see that research is moving ahead, but I am also reminded that we have a ways to go before we can say food allergies are curable.