People allergic to peanuts may have a new way to protect themselves from severe allergic reactions to accidental peanut exposure. It's called sublingual immunotherapy -- or SLIT -- and it involves putting a miniscule amount of liquefied peanut protein under the tongue, where it is absorbed immediately into the blood stream to desensitize the immune system to larger amounts of peanut protein.
Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the research led by first author Edwin Kim, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, shows that SLIT could offer patients a safe and effective way to protect themselves from severe allergic reactions or even anaphylaxis.
"As a parent of two children with nut allergies, I know the fear parents face and the need for better treatments," said Kim, member of the UNC Children's Research Institute. "We now have the first long-term data showing that sublingual immunotherapy is safe and tolerable, while offering a strong amount of protection."
There are three main immunotherapeutic ways clinician scientists have developed to treat nut allergies, and all of them attempt to desensitize the immune system to nut proteins to help patients avoid severe allergic reactions. According to Kim, about 100 ...