A New Peanut Allergy Treatment Could Mean Peanut Butter For Everyone

A new peanut allergy treatment out of Melbourne could help save lives -- and put PB&J sandwiches back on the menu.

Scientists from Monash University and The Alfred ­hospital have successfully developed and tested the treatment which exposes patients to peanut proteins -- without causing an anaphylactic reaction

Developed in conjunction with biotech company Aravax, the once-a-month injection -- called PVX108 -- was trialled over 18 months and saw no dangerous side effects.

Previous trials that exposed peanut allergy sufferers to peanuts in order to increase their tolerance weren't as successful -- many participants suffered anaphylactic shock requiring urgent use of an EpiPen and hospital care.

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With PVX108 -- which scientists worked for 15 years before starting the human trials -- the peanut proteins were cut into smaller sections, or peptides, to protect patients from the side effects of being exposed to the whole protein.

Monash University Professor Robyn O'Hehir, who is also chief medical adviser to Aravax, called PVX108 a "significant breakthrough in the search for a safe therapy for peanut allergy."

Prof. O'Hehir will present the findings at a medical conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

The benefits to PVX108 are twofold -- it's safer for sufferers and it can be easily given two or four weeks apart. There's no word on when it'll be available or how much it will cost.

Almost three in every 100 Aussie children have a peanut allergy and as yet there is no known cure. About 20 percent of children will grow out of their allergy -- the remaining 80 percent and their families live in constant fear as a peanut exposure can be deadly.

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The most effective treatment for peanut allergy -- at least until PVX108 becomes commercially available -- is avoidance aka No Peanut Products Whatsoever.

Anything that could contain traces of peanuts or be cross-contaminated is also off the menu. This makes mealtimes, school lunches and dining out tricky.

Now, we're not saying that this new injection could mean the return of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone but it sure looks like a possibility.

Feature image: Pinterest.

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