August 2016 Food Allergy Research Roundup

By Valerie Dansereau

There is always something new going on in the world of food allergy research. Get the “Cliff’s Notes” version of the latest discoveries and ongoing trials below, and check back next month for more developments!

Food Allergy Research Roundup August

Food Allergy Testing Device Could Save Lives

At the University of Guelph, a handy new tool called Nima has been developed that can help people with potentially deadly food allergies eat out safely. This device can detect specific allergens that diners need to avoid in a matter of minutes, allowing people to know whether what they are eating is safe for them. Currently it detects gluten and peanuts. Researchers are working to include other allergens such as shellfish and tree nuts, and they hope the device will be available to buy in approximately two years.

NIH Funded Study Shows Peanut Allergy Prevention Strategy Is Nutritionally Safe

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has found that introducing foods that contain peanuts during infancy as an allergy prevention strategy doesn’t hurt children’s growth and nutrition and doesn’t reduce the duration of breast feeding. This discovery is from the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) clinical trial led by researchers at King’s College London.  Primary findings from LEAP trials showed that giving peanut products to infants at high risk for developing peanut allergies resulted in a decrease in the severity of peanut allergies or the development of peanut allergies than those who simply avoided peanuts altogether.  This study also shows that introducing peanut-containing foods early in order to prevent peanut allergies can be done and is nutritionally safe.

Nestle Moves Into Milk Allergy Testing

Nestle has committed up to $112 million to develop an allergy test to help determine whether babies are allergic to cow’s milk.  Currently it can be very hard to determine which babies are allergic to cow’s milk, but those who are may have reactions that include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Without a reliable test, parents may be quick to remove milk from a baby’s diet when it isn’t really the cause of these common symptoms. The test is being developed by DBV Technologies, a French bio-pharmaceutical firm. Ultimately this could help Nestle market infant formula to parents who might end up avoiding milk-based products. The goal is to have the test ready for worldwide regulatory approval by 2021.

Old Whooping Cough Vaccine May Give Children Longer Immunity and Reduce Allergies

In Perth Australia, researchers are looking into whether the old whooping cough vaccine may reduce allergies. In the late 1990s, the old vaccine was replaced by an acellular vaccine. It was believed that the old vaccine caused too many side effects. The acellular vaccine has few side effects, but its protective effects don’t last as long. A Telethon Kids Institute pilot study will use the whole cell vaccine in some babies to investigate whether this vaccine offers longer immunity as well as protection from allergic diseases. These researchers are also evaluating people born in the 1990s to determine the allergy rates in people given the whole-cell whooping cough vaccine compared to those who were not given this vaccine.

Have a hot tip about an upcoming clinical trial or any other research developments? Leave us a comment below!


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