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  Amazing if this holds up in larger studies - a treatment for peanut allergy! As the researchers said -  the treatment (2 grams of peanut protein plus a specific strain of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus daily for 18 months) provided "persistent suppression of the allergic immune response to peanuts 4 years" after the treatment had ended This was a nicely done multi-year study in children - a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (to eliminate biases).

The researchers also wrote in the Discussion section of the study: "PPOIT [combined probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy] was associated with long-lasting peanut tolerance 4 years after stopping treatment. Two-thirds of PPOIT treated participants were able to continue regular peanut ingestion, and more than half were ingesting moderate to-large amounts of peanut on a regular basis, compared with only one (4%) of 24 placebo-treated participants. Allergic reactions from intentional peanut ingestion were uncommon and all reactions were mild, suggesting that those who achieved PPOIT-induced sustained unresponsiveness can safely continue peanut ingestion." In other words - WOW! (Other posts on peanut allergies - here and here, and earlier progress report of this study.) From Medical Xpress:

Australian researchers in peanut allergy breakthrough

Australian researchers have reported a major breakthrough in the relief of deadly peanut allergy with the discovery of a long-lasting treatment they say offers hope that a cure will soon be possible. In clinical trials conducted by scientists at Melbourne's Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, children with peanut allergies were given a probiotic along with small doses of a peanut protein over an 18-month period. When the experiment ended in 2013 some 80 percent of the kids were able to tolerate peanutsThe research, published Wednesday in medical journal The Lancet, found that four years on, about 70 percent could still eat peanuts without an adverse reaction.

"The importance of this finding is that these children were able to eat peanuts like children who don't have peanut allergy and still maintain their tolerant state, protected against reactions to peanut," lead researcher Mimi Tang said. "These findings suggest our treatment is effective at inducing long-term tolerance, up to four years after completing treatment, and is safe. Food allergy affects one in 20 children and about two in 100 adults, with seafood, cow's milk, eggs and peanuts among the most typical triggers. Peanuts are one of the most common foods to cause anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

The researchers said the Murdoch study provides the "strongest evidence yet that a cure may be possible for peanut allergy"..... Ten-year-old Olivia May suffered a reaction when she tried to eat a peanut butter sandwich seven years ago. "We visited the allergist the first time [and] he said 'sorry, you're going to have to go home and empty your pantry out, clear it of all nuts, anything with nuts in it'," Oliver's mother Tanya told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. But after taking part in the trial, Oliva no longer suffers from her allergy.

Fifty-six children completed the study, with half receiving a placebo and half receiving the treatment, which encourages the immune system to develop a tolerance to the allergy. Researchers are now aiming to confirm the results with a larger study of the treatment they say "holds important implications for attacking the modern food allergy epidemic". [Original study.]

  Yes! Treating young children who have peanut allergies with doses of peanut protein (oral immunotherapy or OIT) for one month works in treating the peanut allergies in the overwhelming majority of young children in an important study. Several studies have now shown that early exposure to nuts is important for prevention of nut allergies, and in this study the researchers showed that both lower and higher dose oral immunotherapy works in treating nut allergies in young children (9 to 36 months of age). Note that this is a paradigm change - before this the thinking was avoid, avoid, avoid for the child to not get or to not worsen the allergy (whether nuts or animals), but now it's early exposure is good in preventing and treating allergies. From Futurity:

Can therapy before 3 wipe out a peanut allergy?

Preschool children with a peanut allergy were able to start eating peanuts after taking part in oral immunotherapy, a new study shows. The findings confirm and extend previous results that show oral immunotherapy (OIT) can protect children from potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis caused by peanut exposure.

The phase two clinical trial results, published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, show that one month after completing the OIT protocol, almost 80 percent of trial participants achieved “sustained unresponsiveness,” the highest rate yet reported.

“These findings, if confirmed in larger studies, could transform the care of peanut-allergic children early in life,” says Brian P. Vickery, lead investigator of the trial and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Approximately three million people in the United States report having allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.

The initial allergic reaction to peanuts commonly occurs within the first year or two of life, and the condition persists in 80 percent of affected patients, placing them at life-long risk of anaphylaxis. Based on other studies suggesting that peanut allergies strengthen over time, researchers enrolled 40 peanut-allergic children aged 9 to 36 months in the trial, the first study to specifically target children under the age of three.

Children were randomly assigned to high-dose peanut OIT with a target daily dose of 3,000 milligrams of peanut protein or a low-dose regimen with a target dose of 300 milligrams. The trial was double-blinded. Participants took 3,000 mg of study protein, but for the low-dose group, 2,700 mg of placebo was added to the OIT medication. As in previous studies, nearly all participants experienced some side effects, most of which were mild and required little or no treatment.

After receiving OIT for 29 months on average, participants abstained from peanut exposure for four weeks before undergoing a final peanut challenge—where participants ingest a small amount of peanut in a controlled setting. If the challenge is successful, then doctors reintroduce normal amounts of peanuts—such as in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—into the diets of participants. After the four-week period, nearly 80 percent of children in both the high- and low-dose groups consumed peanut with no allergic response and achieved sustained unresponsiveness.

The OIT-treated children were compared with a matched control group of 154 peanut-allergic children who avoided peanut. The OIT-treated children experienced beneficial changes in their immune responses to peanut and were 19 times more likely to successfully incorporate peanut into their diets. 

An amazing breakthrough for those suffering from peanut allergies. The bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus is added to some yogurts and kefir, but in smaller amounts.From The Telegraph:

Fatal peanut allergies could be cured by probiotic bacteria, say Australian doctors

A strain of probiotic bacteria could offer a cure for potentially fatal peanut allergies, according to scientists in Australia. The breakthrough followed a trial in which a group of children were given increasing amounts of peanut flour, along with a probiotic called Lactobacillus rhamnosus, over an 18-month period. About 80 per cent of the children who had peanut allergies were subsequently able to tolerate peanuts.

Mimi Tang, the lead researcher, said the families involved believed the treatment had "changed their lives". "These findings provide the vital first step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly for all food allergies," she told Melbourne's Herald Sun.

The randomised trial, involving a group of about 30 children, was conducted by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne. The children, aged one to ten, were given small amounts of peanut flour, gradually building up to two grams, or the equivalent of six or seven nuts.They were also given daily doses of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which is found in yoghurt but was given in quantities equivalent to the amount found in 44 pounds of yoghurt.

Following the treatment, about 80 per cent of the children were able to tolerate four grams of peanut protein, equivalent to about 14 peanuts. Typically, about four per cent of children would have overcome their peanut allergy during this time.

Rates of peanut allergies have dramatically increased in the past two decades, particularly in developed countries. For most sufferers, the condition is lifelong.

A link to the press release from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (their researchers are doing the research), has more:

Oral Therapy Could Provide Treatment For Peanut Allergies

Over 60 peanut allergic children in the study were either given a dose of a probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, together with peanut protein in increasing amounts, or a placebo over 18 months to assess whether children would become tolerant to peanut.

The probiotic was a fixed daily dose, while the peanut oral immunotherapy was a daily dose of peanut protein starting at very low doses followed by a dose increase every two weeks until the maintenance dose (2 grams peanut protein) was reached. At the end of the treatment, the child's ability to tolerate peanut was assessed by a peanut challenge performed two to five weeks after stopping treatment.

23 of 28 (82.1%) probiotic treated children and one of 28 (3.6%) placebo-treated children were able to include peanut in their diet at the end of the trial. The likelihood of success was high - if nine children were given probiotic and peanut therapy, seven would benefit.

The need for a curative treatment is greatest for peanut allergy since this is usually lifelong, and is the most common cause of fatality due to food induced anaphylaxis. Further research is now required to confirm whether patients can still tolerate peanut years after the study has finished.