Researchers have turned off a life-threatening allergic response to peanuts by tricking the immune system into thinking the nut proteins aren’t a threat to the body, according to a new preclinical study from Northwestern Medicine. The peanut tolerance was achieved by attaching peanut proteins onto blood cells and reintroducing them to the body — an approach that ultimately may be able to target more than one food allergy at a time. […]
It’s the first time this method for creating tolerance in the immune system has been used in allergic diseases. It has previously been used in autoimmune diseases.
The approach also has a second benefit. It creates a more normal, balanced immune system by increasing the number of regulatory T cells, immune cells important for recognizing the peanut proteins as normal.
The researchers believe their approach could also work for other food allergies.
Like 1-5% of the world’s population, I have a serious food allergy (tree nuts, not peanuts). I’m pretty good at navigating around exposure, and, luckily, eating a nut will ruin my day but not my life. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a life-threatening allergy to something as common as peanuts.