The results of a new study indicate that for at least 2 weeks, a single injection of an antibody called etokimab can stop peanut allergy. The results of a new study suggest that a single injection of an antibody called etokimab may halt peanut allergy for at least 2 weeks.
The results of a new trial give hope that peanut allergy will be combated.
Of the 15 participants with severe peanut allergy who participated in the small study, 11 were able to eat about 15 days after injection about a nut worth of peanut protein, without any allergic reaction.
The study was performed by investigators at Stanford University, California. A recent JCI Insight paper provides a complete account of their results.
The proof of concept research, according to the team, offers early evidence that the single antibody injection is safe and effective and ready for further research in larger trials.
“What’s great about this treatment as a food allergy option,” says senior study author Dr. Kari C. Nadeau, Stanford professor of medicine and pediatrics, “is that people didn’t have to eat the food to get desensitized.”
The injection of an antibody could be a much-needed, quicker-acting alternative to oral immunotherapy.
People need to consume gradually increasing doses of the food that triggers their allergic reaction with oral immunotherapy.
This desensitization method, which requires medical supervision at each dose, will take 6-12 months and during that period carries the risk of an allergic reaction.
Dr. Nadeau and colleagues describe that while the treatment of the antibody is still in the experimental stage, they hope it will work for many food allergies and other allergic diseases.
A individual has an allergic reaction when their immune system reacts to allergens that are usually harmless to others in an extreme manner.
The most common causes of allergic reactions are pollen and certain foods. Usually, the reactions are not severe, but they can quickly develop into anaphylaxis when they are, which can be life-threatening.
According to the Trusted Source National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), food allergy affects approximately 5% of children and 4% of adults in the United States.
However Dr. Nadeau and colleagues quote in their study paper recent research which places these numbers at 8% and 11% respectively, with peanut allergy affecting 1-3% of the population and “associated with increased risk of severe anaphylactic reactions.”
Etokimab works by interacting with interleukin-33 (IL-33), a protein of the immune system that plays a major role in health and disease.
IL-33 sets out a series of immune reactions leading to allergic reactions. It triggers antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in people with allergies.
Normally, these reactions give rise to symptoms such as mouth and throat itchiness, breathing difficulties, and potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.
For the new study, the researchers “conducted a phase 2a clinical trial in adults with peanut allergy, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled.”
There were a total of 20 participants all with severe allergies to peanuts. Of these, 15 received a single injection of etokimab, while five received a single placebo injection.
After 15 days, all participants under medical observation attempted to eat a small amount of peanut protein.
Of all those who received etokimab, 11 (73 percent) were able to eat 275 milligrams (mg) – or about one nut’s worth – of peanut protein without suffering an allergic reaction. None of the participants who received placebo were able to do this.
On day 45 of the experiment, only the peanut protein study was resumed by some participants. The researchers suggest that this was because “day 45 is part of the follow-up phase and only a few participants came back to try and finish the day 45 food challenge.”
At that point, 4 out of 7 people in the etokimab group (57 percent) who picked up the food challenge succeeded, while again, no one in the placebo group was able to.
“Those who reached the 275 mg threshold at day 45 had also reached this threshold at day 15,” the researchers note.
Other experiments on day 15 also revealed that participants in the etokimab group had in their blood less peanut-specific IgE antibodies and other immune markers than the placebo group. Such findings suggest that etokimab will shift the immune profile of a person to one that produces a less allergic response.
During the experiment, none of the participants reported severe side effects.
“By inhibiting IL-33, we potentially inhibit features of all allergies, which is promising,” examines Dr. Nadeau.
That she now and her colleagues say the next step should be to conduct larger and longer trials in people with food allergies, with varying doses of etokimab.


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