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Thursday, March 4, 2010

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Hope is on the horizon for children who suffer from potentially fatal peanut allergies. A cure for the disorder may be available in the next three years. In a pilot study, 21 of 23 children between the ages of seven to seventeen were successfully treated for peanut allergies, which allowed them to consume foods containing the nut without suffering a reaction. The groundbreaking research conducted at Cambridge University Hospitals in the United Kingdom was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Childhood peanut allergies commonly cause the constriction of airways, breathing difficulties, asthma, itching and swelling. However, about 10 percent of children who suffer from peanut allergies face a serious, multisystem allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock that for some can lead to death. In addition, sensitivity to peanuts very rarely lessens over time, meaning that children do not outgrow the dangerous disorder.

The new treatment that gradually desensitizes the immune system to peanuts has shown the most promising results to date. According to researcher Dr. Andrew Clark, the research team will launch a major clinical trial involving 104 children beginning in March.

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