Peanut allergy is common, with recent studies estimating a prevalence of 0.8% in children and an overall prevalence of 0.5% - 1% in the general population, and there is evidence that the prevalence of peanut allergy is rising in both the United States and Europe. Currently, the only treatment for peanut allergy is a peanut-free diet and ready access to self-injectable epinephrine. However, accidental ingestions are common, with up to 50% of food-allergic patients having an allergic reaction over a two-year period. Allergic reactions to peanut can be severe and life threatening, with peanut and/or tree nut allergies accounting for the vast majority of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis. Given these facts, the development of effective therapy for peanut allergy is critical. Over the past several years we have made substantial progress in our understanding of peanut allergy and potential treatment strategies for peanut and other food allergies. Recent studies have shown the potential of oral immunotherapy for the treatment of milk, egg and peanut allergies, but this therapy primarily appears to induce desensitization, and adverse reactions are common, unpredictable and sometimes severe. Consequently, more effective therapies are needed. The goal of this application is to expand upon these preliminary studies to determine which treatment modality is likely to be most effective and potentially applicable to the general population of peanut allergic patients, and to understand the immunologic mechanisms associated with the development of

Public Health Relevance

Peanut allergy now affects up to 1% of the U.S. population and appears to be increasing. The only therapy available for peanut-allergic patients is strict dietary avoidance and treatment of accidental ingestions. Unfortunately accidental ingestions are common and food allergies, especially peanut, account for the majority of anaphylactic reactions seen in American emergency departments. Consequently, it is imperative that some form of immunotherapy be developed to treat this growing problem.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1-WFD-I)
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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York
United States
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