Oral Immunotherapy is known to be an effective means of desensitizing some patients to food allergens, but could the early introduction of foods in high-risk patients prevent allergies altogether? That is the primary question to be addressed by the ITN’s LEAP study (Promoting Tolerance to Peanut in High-Risk Children) led by Gideon Lack, MD (Kings College London) which aims to determine whether peanut oral immunotherapy or peanut avoidance is better for reducing peanut allergies in at-risk infants. Patients with peanut sensitization are the ones most likely to develop peanut allergy in the future. In this new Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology paper, investigators determined criteria to identify infants who are at risk for developing peanut allergy but without already-established clinical peanut allergy.
This research details the immunological characteristics of the study subjects at baseline and whether selected risk factors were effective predictors for peanut sensitization (as indicated by presence of peanut-specific IgE or wheal size of a peanut skin-prick test). The results suggest that severe eczema and egg allergy had strong associations with peanut sensitization. Final results of the LEAP study will indicate to what degree these criteria are also risk factors for the development of peanut allergy, and whether early consumption of peanut can successfully prevent peanut allergy in at-risk infants.
Details about the LEAP study can be found here.