THE ANTIDOTE TO PEANUT ALLERGIES?
More, not less.
Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children. It’s now considered a global epidemic. In the UK and US alone, one in 50 children have the condition.
Peanut allergy is often diagnosed in children under two years old. For these children’s families, trying to stop their child from being exposed to peanuts is a constant worry.
For some children, the reaction is potentially life threatening, and this has a significant impact on their families’ everyday quality of life.
Researchers at King College London's Department of Paediatric Allergy, led by Professor Gideon Lack, are leading clinical studies to determine the best strategy to prevent peanut allergy in children.
The department’s LEAP study (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) is one of the largest studies of food allergy of its kind in the world. Our findings will inform global health policies, helping children in the UK and around the world.
LEAP brings experts together from all around the world to look at a patient cohort of 640 children from a diverse mix of national and ethnic backgrounds.
Using this sample of children, Professor Lack and his team will try and uncover what the best strategy is to prevent the development of peanut allergy.
We believe that by repeatedly exposing a child's immune system from an early age to peanut, their body learns to tolerate it and it will not cause an allergic reaction as the child develops.
The results will give us the basis for evidence-based, clinically-proven advice to give to parents. We will also inform WHO (World Health Organisation) guidelines on the introduction of peanut and other food products into children's diets when they are babies.
Alongside this research, we have also developed unique biomarkers to diagnose food allergies in young children. This means that doctors should no longer have to perform invasive tests that expose patients to suspected allergic foods. The biomarker test takes a small sample of blood from the patient. The sample is then exposed to food proteins in the laboratory. If the blood cells react positively, then a diagnosis is made.
This test is highly effective, accurate and safe: it’s reduced the need to expose patients to a food test by 90 per cent, and, most importantly, doesn't put the child at risk.
Our research into peanut allergy is making a positive difference to millions of children worldwide. Please help us continue this important work by making a donation today.
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