The recent study published in the Lancet regarding peanut allergies has been big news. The study confirmed what numerous smaller studies have been showing, which is that people can become desensitized to peanut allergies by ingesting tiny but increasing amounts of peanuts over an extended period of time. With 400,000 school-aged American children suffering with peanut allergies and the ever present fear of accidentally ingesting peanuts hidden in the foods they eat, this is a good step forward. But it isn't cut and dry.

This Isn't a Cure

Oral immunotherapy, which is the swallowing of small amounts of peanuts in increasing amounts over time, has been proven to desensitize allergies. And while this is a huge finding, it isn't a cure. 84% of participants in this recent study reacted well to the oral immunotherapy and could tolerate a daily dose of 5 peanuts. While 84% is a large and promising number, it is no way a cure for every person dealing with peanut allergies.

Peanuts Must Be Consumed Daily

Those who develop the ability to tolerate peanuts must continue to eat peanuts on a daily basis. Researchers expect that children will have to take peanuts daily for years, and hope that over time they may be able to reduce that to a few days a week to maintain tolerance.

Further Research Is Needed

While this research is solid, researchers admit that more work needs to be done. According to the study, researchers found differences in the DNA of regulatory T cells among the people who were analyzed. A blood test could be developed to see just how desensitized patients receiving immunotherapy have become to peanuts.

Peanut allergies are frightening for families affected by them. Being able to turn those allergies from deadly to mild is amazing and a step in the right direction. Talk to your child's allergiest for more information.