Could a cure for peanut allergies be close? Australia’s ABC reports that in a new study, 82 percent of participants saw their peanut allergies cured within the first 18 months of treatment.
Four years later, 80 percent of the participants still showed no signs of an allergy, and 70 percent passed a further test meant to confirm long-term peanut tolerance, the Guardian reports.
The research out of Australia’s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute involved 48 children, some of whom were given an immunotherapy treatment and some of whom got a placebo.
The children who still appeared to be cured four years later “had been eating peanut freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake,” says Mimi Tang, the lead researcher.
Tang, an immunologist and allergist, combined a probiotic with a method known as peanut oral immunotherapy—a high dose of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus was combined with peanut protein in increasing amounts.
The probiotic is known to calm the immune system and reduce allergic reactions; the idea is to “reprogram” the way the immune system reacts to peanut intake, Tang explains.