The ITN’s LEAP and HALT-MS trials were two of the 15 highlighted topics in NIAID’s selected research advances for 2015. In his opening remarks, NIAID Director Tony Fauci explains that this selection includes “notable scientific advances made by NIAID researchers and NIAID-funded scientists” and “are representative of how public investment in biomedical research drives scientific progress and benefits human health.”
LEAP was the first large, well-powered clinical trial to conclusively demonstrate the benefits of early peanut consumption in infants at risk for developing peanut allergy. Compared to non-consumers, consuming peanut led to an 81% reduction in peanut allergy at five years. These findings changed previous conventions about preventing peanut allergy and will impact public health and clinical practice.
In HALT-MS, 25 individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) received high-dose immunosuppression followed by an autologous stem cell transplant to potentially re-set their immune systems in a non-inflammatory manner. At three years, 80% of participants showed sustained remission despite not being on other MS therapies. Investigators are now discussing how to build off these encouraging results by testing this regimen in larger, controlled trials.