Offering small doses of egg to children ‘can cure allergy’

  • Immunotherapy should not have to get attempted outside strictly controlled research conditions

By Daily Mail Reporter


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Quiche, omelettes and pasta might be back on the menu for children with egg allergies, after researchers developed an effective exposure therapy.

Within tests, more than a quarter of kids fed small amounts of egg dropped the allergy altogether, while others demonstrated higher tolerance to exposure to eggs.

The findings add weight to the concept of oral immunotherapy – where the immune system is taught to tolerate something with small but progressively growing exposures.

A quarter of particpants were able to eat eggs after the treatment

A quarter of particpants were able to eat eggs after the treatment

Simliar studies have suggested the same approach could be useful in milk and peanut allergies.

But researchers in the John Hopkins Children’s Center warn that although showing promising outcomes, oral immunotherapy is still in its childhood and should not be attempted outside firmly controlled research conditions.

For your study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, 35 of 40 children treated with egg immunotherapy experienced improvement.

Five of the 40 patients dropped out of the research, four of them due to allergic reactions associated with treatment.

Of the remainder, eleven experienced complete long-term elimination of egg-related allergic reactions, the most sought-after restorative outcome.

The rest of the children could tolerate higher doses of egg with only mild or no symptoms, but lost some of their tolerance after discontinuing treatment.

But researchers say a higher threshold of tolerance is an important therapeutic marker because it may protect against serious allergic reactions from accidental or incidental exposures and give patients and parents peace of mind at restaurants or parties where food control is difficult.

Dr Robert Wooden said: ‘More than a quarter of the children in our study lost their own egg allergies altogether, but we all also saw dramatic improvements within those who didn’t, which in and of by itself is an important therapeutic achievement.

‘These children went from having serious allergic reactions after a single bite of an egg-containing cookie to consuming eggs along with minimal or no symptoms. ‘

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