Researchers are also investigating how to desensitize patients to the antigens causing their allergies, Dr. Reisacher said.
Explore This IssueOctober 2010
In 2009, a study looked at 29 patients, aged one to 16, who were on maintenance dosing for 36 months. Ultimately, 93 percent of the patients were able to tolerate 13 peanuts with only mild symptoms (Jones SM, Pons L, Roberts JL, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009;124(2):292-300). A follow-up study is scheduled for 2012, Dr. Reisacher said.
Future work on desensitization is likely to concentrate on the role of flavonoids, genetically modified antigens, overlapping peptide vaccines and plasmid DNA-encoded vaccines, he said.
“Lots of things are happening in this field,” he said. “But it seems like we have more questions, actually, than answers.”