Three lovely, kind and well-meaning people shared with me the news recently about the LA Times story on immunotherapy for peanut allergy. As long-time readers here know, the topic of peanut allergy is one near to my heart. It’s also the reason why we began homeschooling.
That folks would think of our family in the wake of a story promising a possible cure is to be treasured. I am grateful for their concern and care. Deeply grateful.
There are problems, however, with the therapy described in the piece. I’ve decided that I can’t let it pass without comment. (You know how I am… opinionated.)
Indeed, I was brewing up a post in response to the news when I ran across this Facebook status post from my friend, “K.”
Her child has more food allergies than my own, so she’s even more acutely aware of the false hope the news provides us. In her note she said everything that I wanted to share but far more succinctly and passionately.
I offered to share her post, and she graciously accepted the invite.
I want to clear the air, as I have had a few different people now ask me if I’ve heard about the new cure for food allergies that’s been in the news this week. Here are my thoughts.
Oral immunotherapy [“OIT”] is neither a brand new treatment nor is it a cure. The long-term efficacy is not proving to be good (the majority patients re-sensitize over time), and the treatment itself has significant risks, with some participants actually experiencing full-blown anaphylaxis during trials. Not to mention the practical difficulties, such as not being able to shower or exercise within a few hours of the daily “dose” (imagine me telling my 3 year old he can’t run around LOL) and having to eat a specific amount of the allergen every.single.day regardless of food preferences.
So while I am thrilled that research into treatment for food allergies is happening, and I’m not ruling out the possibility of OIT’s success (especially when used in conjunction with Xolair and other safety measures), at this point I do NOT see it as a realistic option for most kids. I am MORE excited about FAHF-2, which has already proven to be safe, well tolerated, and produce long-term changes in the immune system by modulating the overall response and not just desensitizing to specific allergens. Eagerly awaiting the publication of Ehrlich’s book* on this topic sometime soon.
Thanks for listening.
Yeah. What she said. Ditto.
* I was unfamiliar with Ehrlich’s book and don’t have enough information to evaluate it fully, but I trust K. on this because she is so well-read. Therefore I left her reference and included the link she shared.