Children with peanut allergies safely eat peanuts after new 'game changing' treatment

Children with peanut allergies may soon be able to eat the nuts due to a new treatment being labelled a "game-changer".

A trial for a new immunotherapy treatment has had "life changing results," said Professor Jonathan Hourihane from University College of Cork, who led the trial in Ireland.

More than two-thirds of children on the trial could safely eat peanuts after the treatment, according to the results which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The 30 Irish children have been having a drug called AR101, which is derived from peanut flour, over the course of the two-year trial.

The experiment led to 67 percent of the children taking the drug being able to consume four peanuts, and the other children having less severe reactions.  A few needed to use adrenaline, which is the most common treatment for anaphylactic shock.

"This is a game changer. If someone is anaphylactic or suffers severe reactions, this is life changing," said Prof Hourihane. "The treatment now gives parents, children and adults with peanut allergy a safety in the community they have never had".

The drug reportedly works by suppressing the allergic responses in the body, training the body to not panic when it senses a peanut. Over time that can build up a tolerance to peanut.

"We have seen patients go from being highly allergic to very small doses, like one-tenth of a peanut, to being able to manage to eat the equivalent of two or three peanuts without a significant reaction," said Prof Hourihane.

While the treatment may be seen as a breakthrough, more research is needed to find out if it has a long term effect or if the drug would need to be had regularly.