For those who love peanuts or peanut butter, but are allergic to these products, will be happy to know that there is a plan to do research on this type of allergy.
Presently, there are approximately 3 million Americans who are allergic to peanuts and peanut products. Many, are children, who love peanut butter in any form. Unfortunately, an allergy to peanuts is considered dangerous and potentially fatal. Research is being done in the hopes that people can be treated by just wearing a patch. Since there are so many children who love peanut butter, this is good news for them.
This peanut patch is being tested by several groups. The researchers are at National Jewish Health and four other institutions that are known as Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR). They are hoping that this patch will desensitize allergic patients by exposing them to gradual increased amounts of peanut protein in the same way that allergy shots can desensitize people to pollen. The protein would be delivered through the skin from a patch the same way that nicotine patches are used by people who are trying to give up tobacco.
This research group is currently treating people with other food allergies by using what is known as oral immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy. This means that the patient has to come to their doctor so that he/she can gradually receive higher doses of their allergenic food protein under their tongue in drop form.
The researchers feel that if the patch is successful, it would be a much better type of treatment than having to have the patient come to the office for the oral immunotherapy. In other words, researchers are hoping that if the patch works well, it can be administered at home. The patient would still have to visit their doctor, but it would eliminate the number of office visits that are necessary for the allergy treatments. This would be true of a peanut patch as well as other allergenic foods..
Researchers hope to begin this research soon. Doctors, who are doing this research, claim that they have a long ways to go. They are concerned that the peanut patch may not necessarily be a viable and safe way to treat those who have this type of allergy. They do feel, however, that this is potentially a very exciting progression in the treatment of food allergies.
I have heard recently, through a friend of mine, that because there are so many people allergic to peanuts, there are airplanes that do not pass these peanut packages out to passengers anymore.
Source: A pamphlet, National Jewish Health, Science Transforming Life, President, Dr. Michael Salem, M.D