By Sy Mukherjee
November 19, 2018

Happy Monday, readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Peanut allergies can be deadly—and a complicated practical issue to deal with, as anyone with personal experience with such an allergy (and there’s about one million kids in the U.S. who have one) well knows. But a new clinical trial suggests that the key to combating a life-threatening reaction may actually be, well, peanuts themselves.

Or at least a derivative of peanut protein manufactured into a new drug, according to the late-stage study results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“In this phase 3 trial of oral immunotherapy in children and adolescents who were highly allergic to peanut, treatment with AR101 resulted in higher doses of peanut protein that could be ingested without dose-limiting symptoms and in lower symptom severity during peanut exposure at the exit food challenge than placebo,” wrote the study authors of the treatment being developed by Aimmune Therapeutics, which funded the study.

Ok, let’s break that down into plainer terms. Aimmune’s therapy was tested in trial participants across multiple countries and age groups. By its end, about two in three of the nearly 400 children being given the drug (whose dosage was increased as the study went on) were able to take in 600 milligrams of peanut protein without having an allergic reaction. Simply put, AR101 could prove to be a way of building up peanut tolerance, especially among the young.

That latter point is significant. On first glance, it seems Aimmune’s drug may not be quite as effective in older adults. But it could still become the first Food and Drug Administration approved peanut allergy treatment in history.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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