A new research study reports that a vaccine delivered as an ultrafine nasal spray was found to limit or prevent peanut allergy symptoms in mice. This study is the first step in potentially developing a vaccine to treat food allergies in humans, reports Science Daily.
Researchers with the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan developed the vaccine as a new form of immunotherapy to treat allergies to peanut.
“Right now, the only FDA-approved way to address food allergy is to avoid the food or suppress allergic reactions after they have already started,” said lead author Jessica O’Konek, PhD. “Our goal is to use immunotherapy to change the immune system’s response by developing a therapeutic vaccine for food allergies.”
During an allergic reaction, the body’s immune system overreacts to an allergen, that is, an otherwise harmless protein. Allergen immunotherapy attempts to retrain the immune system to tolerate the allergen. Other peanut allergy immunotherapies being tested in human clinical trials have been shown to improve peanut tolerance in many, but not all, peanut allergy patients. This tolerance can be lost if maintenance doses of peanut are discontinued; additionally, adverse reactions can occur during immunotherapy.