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Monday, November 13, 2006

New Treatments for Food Allergies Being Studied

MedicalNewsToday.com hyped up the the latest research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Philadelphia with a headline of "Allergy And Immunology On The Cusp Of Major Breakthroughs."

When you read the article closely, however, all the big breakthroughs appear to be only for certain types of allergies. The news for those with food, including dairy, allergies isn't quite as good.

Researchers are also looking at novel approaches for treating food allergy, which is a major health problem in industrialized nations. It affects between 6 percent - 8 percent of young children and 4 percent of adults. Current management of food allergy includes the avoidance of specific foods and the medical management of acute reactions.

Only a few foods, such as milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, and fish and shellfish account for over 90 percent of all food allergic reactions. Attempts at primary prevention have largely not met with much success.

"There are several promising studies being conducted now that likely will result in new treatments for food allergy," said Wesley Burks, M.D., professor and chief, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

One of the new therapies are on the horizon is Anti-IgE, which may be able to prevent severe food allergic reactions and can also be used in combination with other new therapies for treatment. Another is the use of modified allergenic proteins that may be able to "reverse" food allergy.

"Routes, other than subcutaneous, for the delivery of allergy immunotherapy for food allergy are being studied extensively now," said Dr. Burks.


Being studied is not at all the same thing as finding a result. If you hear elsewhere about this conference and the good news it supposedly brings, demand to read the fine print.

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