Study: New Hope for Curing Food Allergies

Researchers found a way to trick the immune system into believing there's no allergic threat

By Diane Znamierowski
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 10:41 AM CDT
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Researchers found a way to trick the immune system into believing there's no allergic threat.

Researchers found a way to trick the immune system into believing there's no allergic threat.

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A new study may lead the way to making food allergies a thing of the past. 

In a preclinical trial, researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found a way to turn off the body's life-threatening allergic response to peanuts.  

Scientists achieved peanut tolerance by attaching proteins onto blood cells and then reintroducing them into the body. That essentially tricked the immune system into thinking the proteins posed no threat.

“We think we’ve found a way to safely and rapidly turn off the allergic response to food allergies,” said Paul Bryce, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement.
 
It's the first time the approach has been used to target allergic diseases. Previously, the approach was used to target autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Researchers call the findings encouraging. They say they hope to move forward to human trials soon.

The food allergy study was published in the Journal of Immunology. 

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