A promising study written by Dr Wesley Burks and colleagues was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July of 2012. This study looked at oral immunotherapy with egg powder as a potencial treatment for children with egg allergies. This study was well designed using a double blind, placebo controlled method. Dr Burks et al looked at 55 children with egg allergies. The oral immunotherapy trials lasted about 22 months. If the children passed the 22 month trial, they avoided egg for another 4-6 weeks. After that time, egg was reintroduced into the diet as an oral food challenge. Those children who passed the oral food challenge stage were then placed on a diet that allowed liberal egg consumption and were monitored for any responses to the egg proteins.
At the end of 10 months of therapy, none of the children who received the placebo passed the egg food challenge. Interestingly 55% who received the oral immunotherapy passed the oral food challenge and was considered to be desensitized. After 22 months, 75% of the children were desensitized who had the oral immunotherapy of the egg powder. All children who passed the oral food challenge at 24months continued to have egg in their diet at the 30-36 month evaluation stage.
This study shows very promising findings that oral immunotherapy can desensitize a high proportion of children with an egg allergy. These results were sustained after the oral immunotherapy was done, happily.
Have your kiddos or someone you know been through an oral immunotherapy trial? Do you think this is the next stage for food allergy treatments?