Posted On Friday, July 20, 2012 at 09:05:50 AM
Giving children with egg allergies increasingly higher doses of the very food they are allergic to can eliminate or ease reactions in most of them, according to results from a study conducted at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
The research findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, add to a growing body of evidence showing that feeding escalating doses of a food – an approach known as oral immunotherapy – can, over time, condition the immune system to tolerate the food with minimal or no reactions.
Recent, smaller studies conducted at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have shown the approach can also be useful in treating children allergic to milk and peanuts.
The researchers say the results are promising but caution that, at present, oral immunotherapy is still considered experimental and should not be used outside of a strictly controlled research protocol.
“More than a quarter of the children in our study lost their egg allergies altogether, but we also saw dramatic improvements in those who didn’t, which in and of itself is an important therapeutic achievement,” says Robert Wood, director of allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
“These children went from having serious allergic reactions after a single bite of an eggcontaining cookie to consuming eggs with minimal or no symptoms.” The children who were cured could eat eggs without symptoms as frequently or as infrequently as they chose without any symptoms.