In November of 2013, a case was reported when a bone marrow transplant cured a child of his peanut allergy. The researchers stated that the reverse could actually happen. There have been several reports of a donor with a food allergy passing it on to the recipient. The findings are of central importance to allergy specialists.
The child was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at the age of 15 months. The reason for the bone marrow transplant was because the child was diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia at the age of 4 years. At 8.5 years old, the child received the stem cell bone marrow transplant from a donor. A little over 1 year after the transplant, his IgE levels to peanuts were undetectable. The doctors confirmed the resolution of his peanut allergy. The 10 year old child has remained cancer and allergy free after the bone marrow transplant.
80% of peanut allergies do not resolve. This led researchers to believe that the genetic modification during the immune cell development in bone marrow may play a large role in causing allergies. This report does not suggest transplant as an indication for allergy resolution as there are many risks associated with bone marrow transplants. However, it does place allergies firmly in the field of immune regulation, where many clinicians do not think of it as.
As we become more knowledgeable on why and how food allergies develop, this can hopefully lead us closer to finding a resolution to this growing public health concern.