Detects immune system changes that aid in healing peanut allergy

Lead researcher, Professor Mimi Tang of the Murdoch Children’s Institute, said: “This is the first study to map the complex gene with the gene communication and connectivity underlying clinical remission of peanut allergy.

“The immunological changes that lead to peanut allergy remission are largely unknown,” she said. Previous studies have mainly focused on examining gene expression levels without exploring how genes interact with each other.

But genes don’t work individually; instead, biological responses are controlled by a large number of genes that communicate with each other, so it makes sense to look at these interactions more closely.

“What we found was a profound difference in networking patterns between children with allergies and those in remission. These changes were also seen when we compared the gene networks before and after the data. immunotherapy in children who are in remission after immunotherapy.”

Peanut allergy in children

Randomized controlled trial involving 62 peanut-allergic children from Melbourne, aged 1-10 years, who were treated with a combination of probiotics and oral immunotherapy (gradual introduction of the allergenic food into the body). body) or placebo.

After 18 months of treatment, 74% of those taking the combination were in remission compared with 4% of the placebo group.

The peanut oral immunotherapy used in combination with probiotics in the trial was PRT120, a leading candidate for Prota Therapeutics, an Australian biotech company focused on delivering treatments. New allergenic immunology for children with life-threatening peanut allergy is on the market.

The team led by Professor Tang also recently showed in a separate trial that two treatments – a combination of probiotics and peanut immunotherapy and peanut-only immunotherapy – highly effective in remission and desensitization. About half of the children who received treatment were in remission, which allowed them to stop treatment and safely eat peanuts freely.

Dr Sarah Ashley at Murdoch says while oral immunotherapy can induce successful desensitization and remission, desensitization often subsides after treatment ends or even with maintenance medication. continuous.

“Certain changes in allergen-specific immune cells, called Th2 cells, are important for achieving long-term remission,” she said. Th2 cells are essential for the production of allergen-specific antibodies and the development of food allergies. We found that allergen Th2 signaling is ‘off’ in children in remission. ”

Food allergies are a global public health concern, affecting 10% of infants and 5-8% of children.

Because there is no cure for food allergies, management relies on avoiding the allergenic food, which leads to a reduced quality of life, said Dr Anya Jones of the Telethon Kids Institute.

“Understanding the complex immune processes that support remission will provide insight into the key drivers of treatment success and potentially identify new targets for these treatments,” she said. More effective treatments provide long-term solutions for patients.”

Ju Lee Ng’s daughter, Stella, 9, was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at 18 months old after developing hives from a meal containing traces of the nut.

But Ju Lee said that after taking part in a trial of childhood allergies in Murdoch, Stella has been in clinical remission for nearly four years and now eats peanuts regularly.

“Stella’s quality of life has improved dramatically since the trial,” she said. Her anxiety level has decreased significantly and she is free to enjoy different foods. Stella no longer has to always check food labels for peanuts and notify teachers or parents or friends about her allergy. Now she can dig and enjoy a bag of M&Ms peanuts.

“In the past, we had to avoid traveling to countries that use a lot of peanuts in food, including Malaysia, where my husband and I live. As soon as Stella went into remission, we were delighted. was traveling with family to Thailand. We tried the local food and enjoyed a great stay without worrying that Stella might have an allergic reaction.”

Ju Lee said it was reassuring to know that new treatments could be developed based on the results of the latest Murdoch Children’s research.

“This study will give hope to families of children with peanut allergies,” she said. We hope other families can experience the same comfort we have now with a child who can eat peanuts comfortably without fear of a reaction. “

Source: Eurekalert

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