Oral immunotherapy: a "cure" for egg allergies?
Categories: Allergy, News Clips, News, Food Allergies
Oral immunotherapy: a "cure" for egg allergies? No, but it's a promising start.
A new multi-center study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has found that giving children with egg allergies a small amount of egg-white powder for 10 months reduced or eliminated their allergy.
According to the president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic’s Dr. Stanley Fineman, this finding can be very important.
“It’s good news for families with children suffering from food allergies,” said Dr. Fineman. “Not only does the study show that a high proportion of children receiving egg oral immunotherapy were able to ingest egg protein even after stopping the oral immunotherapy protocol, but also that there is hope for effective treatments in the future for food allergy patients.”
Even though this particular oral immunotherapy (OIT) study had success, it’s still an experimental treatment, and food allergy patients should be very cautious.
“Unfortunately there are still a number of patients having reactions during the oral immunotherapy procedure. In fact,” Dr. Fineman notes, “six of the 40 study patients who were treated with egg OIT withdrew because of reactions. Food allergy patients should only consider an oral challenge under the careful management of a properly trained allergist.”
Dr. Fineman admits that it’s hard to say whether OIT would be applicable to other types of food allergy as well, but it’s promising that qualified investigators are performing quality research to help find treatments for patients with food allergies. “At this time the main treatment is avoidance and having an emergency epinephrine auto-injector available to treat a potentially life threatening reaction if necessary. It is certainly helpful to continue support for medical research investigations that help find treatments for our patients with food allergies.”