Food allergies in humans could be a thing of the past as new research has developed a treatment that can “cure” these chronic conditions.
Over 150 million people in Europe have allergies and between 6 and 8% of all children have an allergy specific to food, according to Allergy UK.
These individuals could have a “life changing” treatment after Canadian scientists were able to reduce anaphylactic responses in mice that were allergic to peanuts and egg white protein, by up to 90% with only one treatment.
The new research is based on an immunotherapy technique, where ‘gatekeeping’ dendritic cells, which naturally occur in the immune system, are produced in a test tube and exposed to allergens to modify them.
At this stage they are then reintroduced to the patient and send a signal to reverse the hyper-immune response seen in extreme allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis can be life threatening, and in the last two decades (1992-2012) there has been a 615% increase in hospital admissions for treatment.
John Gordon, lead author, on this paper explained that many volunteers are coming forward to help speed up the trial process: “This discovery reverses food allergies in mice, and we have many people with allergies volunteering their own cells for us to use in lab testing to move this research forward.”
Professor Gordon predicts that if all goes to plan, the treatment could be available to consumers within five to ten years.