By Allergen Bureau

Everyday foods may help prevent food allergies

A new, three-year, oral immunotherapy (OIT) trial in the UK will investigate whether commonly available peanut and milk products, taken under medical supervision, can be used as a treatment for people with food allergies.

The trial aims to explore alternatives to using expensive pharmaceutical products such as Palforzia as a treatment to reduce the severity of reactions to food allergens. If successful, the trial will empower the UK National Health Service to provide cost-effective treatments for people living with food allergies through oral immunotherapy using shop bought foods rather than expensive pharmaceutical products.

The study will recruit 216 people between the ages of three and 23 with an allergy to cow’s milk, and aged six to 23 with an allergy to peanuts. Following an initial 12 months of desensitisation under strict medical supervision, those taking part will be followed for two more years to provide longer term data.

The £2.2 million trial is funded by the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation which was set up by the parents of the English teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who, in 2016, suffered a fatal allergic reaction to sesame in a Pret-A-Manger baguette she had purchased at Heathrow Airport. Many UK food businesses have donated funds for the trial, including Greggs, Tesco, Just Eat, Co-op, Morrisons, KFC, Sainsbury’s, Costa, Burger King, Pret, Lidl and Leon.

Find out more about the Natasha Clinical Trial on the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation website.