05 January 2011

Research Peanut Allergy CURE in the U.K.

Research for a peanut allergy "cure" is ongoing around the world.  "Cure" may be the wrong word to described the near-term hoped for results.  From what I've read thus far the current "treatments" being offered (including the treatment Alexander is receiving) and the hoped for future treatments will result in a patient being desensitized so they can tolerate peanuts. This is a fantastic result in my humble opinion.  Alexander would be able to tolerate ingestion of peanuts and....
-not worry about cross-contamination 
-eat cookies off a tray mixed with peanut butter cookies
-ride on an airplane next to someone with a bag full of peanuts 
-sit with his friends eating peanut filled snacks
-eat in a Thai restaurant
-travel to Asia (lots of peanuts in the food in many Asian countries)
The list is endless. You get the idea.

Information in several articles leads me to believe that treatments for peanut allergy may or may not result in a technical "cure" over time for the allergy itself but there is not enough data to know at this point. 

Below are links to several articles written about the research conducted in the U.K. by doctors at Cambridge University. The articles from 2009 and 2010 provide information on a small pilot study that was successfully conducted and the current research being conducted by a team of doctors from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England. The current study will follow over 100 children ages seven to 17 over the course of three years. This is the largest trial of its kind in the world.


See my prior POST entitled PEANUTS TO CURE PEANUT ALLERGY for a video on research at Duke University.
Over time I will post links to news articles on peanut allergy research studies including articles on the research conducted by Duke University and Arkansas Children's Hospital under the direction of Wesley Burks, MD. 

02 January 2011

Countdown to 1 WHOLE PEANUT

COUNTDOWN to 1 WHOLE PEANUT. We are counting the days until Alexander eats his 1st Whole Peanut!  A few weeks ago Alexander pointed this out to me. He knew exactly how many weeks until his first peanut. I must admit to not paying close attention to the "dosing schedule" so as to be aware of this fact.

Clearly this is a "big deal" to Alexander (and to our family).
We began the peanut oral immunotherapy program at Dallas Allergy Immunology on December 2, 2010.  This treatment is designed to desensitize my son to peanuts so we do not have to worry about accidental ingestion and its consequences which needless to say could be dire. I have documented this process to date in earlier posts on this blog. Check them out. 

For treatment #5 on December 30th, 2010 Alexander's dose was increased to 175 mg of peanut flour. Again in pill form.  
We will follow the same procedures at home as our prior pill doses. We dose 1 pill twice per day. 
There must be an interval of 9 to 15 hours between each dose. This is to be strictly followed. 
Alexander keeps a "dosing chart" (teenage style) noting the time of day he takes each pill.

If Alexander is able to tolerate the next few dose increases he will graduate to 1 whole peanut. The schedule is as follows:
Jan 6 -  increase dose to 250 mg of peanut flour
Jan 13- increase dose to 500 mg of peanut flour
Jan 20- increase dose to 1 whole PEANUT

1 whole peanut - innocent looking but dangerous to many.
To eat a peanut is a revolutionary act for a peanut allergic child.

I decided to ask Alexander (15 years old) what he is thinking or feeling about eating 1 peanut. Here is what he said:

Q- I know you are looking forward to eating your 1st peanut. What are your thoughts?

A- "I am ready to get it over with. The sooner it gets done the safer I'll be."

Q - Are you afraid of eating a peanut?

A- "Not really. I'm not really afraid of it since I have made it this far.

Clearly Alexander feels he will have some protection from cross contamination once he is able to tolerate 1 peanut. 
Dr. Wasserman's staff has said Alexander will have some protection. 
The more peanuts he is able to ingest as his doses increase, the more protection he will have. 
For the moment I am a little wary of allowing any exposure to peanuts with the exception of his daily peanut dose.

Another friend of mine Stacey Hanley told me she and her son Nate felt safer after he ate this 1st whole peanut.
Stay tuned!

Just A Little Peanut: Countdown to 1 WHOLE PEANUT