A fresh start for Bo
Bo has now restarted his daily peanut allergy treatment program at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. His starting daily dosage of real peanut flour is so small it looks like 10 grains of sand in the cup.
As most of our peanut allergy study blog readers know by now, Bo is repeating year one of the peanut allergy research study. This is because on his one year anniversary of the peanut allergy treatment, he failed his oral food challenge. Then, after the one year oral food challenge, as planned, it was revealed that Bo had in fact been randomly selected to get placebo (simple flour) all year long. We knew from the beginning of this double blind study that there was a 1 in 5 chance of him being randomly selected for placebo, but hoped it wouldn't be him.
So now our journey to a cure for peanut allergy takes on a new life, as Bo is definitely receiving real peanut flour for his daily dosages now. By the summer of 2009, we should eventually get back up to the equivalent of about 9 1/2 peanut kernels!
Peanut allergy desensitization successes
While in Little Rock this week, we got to see a 5 year old boy that is in year two of a peanut allergy desensitization study at Arkansas Children's Hospital. His study is very similar to Bo's, except no one is getting placebo in that study. His daily dosage of peanut flour is now equivalent to more than 8 peanuts and we watched in amazement as his skin peanut allergy test was negative... no reaction! This lack of allergic reaction for this boy after two years of peanut desensitization treatment was remarkable considering how he has had several reactions over the course of the last two years to increases in his daily dosages of peanut flour.
In fact, we learned that some kids, after two years in these peanut allergy treatment research studies, have passed an oral food challenge equivalent to two tablespoons of peanut butter, even after going off the daily peanut flour dosage for a month!
Patience needed for treatment research
There really is a lot of promise in this peanut allergy and other food allergy desensitization research. And while everyone involved in these research programs... doctors, nurses, researchers, and the participating food allergic families are anxious to get these promising treatments out to more food allergy sufferers, there is too much risk of rolling these treatments out until the scientific community is fully satisfied that the results are long term, repeatable across larger populations, and it is clearly understood exactly how the therapy works to affect the immune system. Until these questions are answered to the satisfaction of the scientific and medical communities, premature roll out of these therapies would jeopardize all the progress being made with these type of food allergy treatment research programs.
As always we'll keep you updated through this blog on Bo's peanut allergy treatment study progress and we welcome you to post comments or send e-mails to askaboutmypeanutallergy @gmail.com (TIP: Do not include spaces in address when sending e-mail)