In the yearlong clinical trial, 842 participants, including 750 children and adolescents, were exposed to peanut protein in gradually increasing quantities to reduce allergy sensitivity, under strict medical supervision and starting with minute quantities. But if the allergic individual can safely consume a few peanuts, this can be life-changing, as trace exposures will no longer present a severe reaction risk.
"The results of this landmark trial are likely to lead to the first FDA-approved treatment for food allergy in 2019", said Christina Ciaccio, MD, MSc, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at UChicago Medicine and study co-author.
The resulting drug, referred to as AR101 in the study, contained defatted peanut flour created to help users eventually reduce sensitivity to peanut exposure.
Sophie Pratt, 44, from Kentish Town in north London, enrolled her six-year-old daughter Emily, who has had a peanut allergy since she was one, on the study.
"Reactions from the oral challenges at the end of the study were much milder than prior to treatment", said Dr Tilles.
"Families live in fear of accidental exposure as allergic reactions can be very severe, and can even lead to death".
After one year of treatment with a newly invented drug by Immune Therapeutics, says about 70% of children and teenagers suffering from peanut allergies were able to accept two peanuts or equivalent.
By giving people with peanut allergies small amounts of peanut flour, "you're trying to desensitize them to their allergy", Alan explains.
67% of patients receiving AR101, an orally administered peanut-derived biologic, tolerated a single dose of at least two peanuts (500 - 600 mg of peanut protein) while 85% who completed the study tolerated this amount.
'The impact on our family life was huge'.
'Until recently there has been nothing to offer peanut allergy sufferers other than education around peanut avoidance and recognition and self-treatment of allergic reactions'.
Emily has had a peanut allergy since she was one and her mum says the study is life-changing.
There are an estimated 6 million children with food allergies in the United States.
The PALISADE study was funded by Aimmune Therapeutics, manufacturers of the peanut protein used during the trial.