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Millions who suffer from nut and milk allergies could benefit from Stanford researcher's test

STANFORD, Calif. - A team led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has developed vaccines that vastly reduce or eliminate dogs' allergic reactions to three major food allergens: peanuts, milk and wheat. The vaccines' benefits lasted at least three months.

The research, published in the Nov. 12 online edition of the journal Allergy and completed jointly with scientists at UC-San Francisco, UC-Davis and UC-Berkeley, is the first to reverse pre-existing food allergies in an animal other than a mouse. The vaccines provide new hope to the millions of people who suffer from food allergies.

"Food allergy is an important problem for which there is no good treatment," said Dale Umetsu, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics at Stanford and chief of the division of allergy and immunology at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. "Developing a cure for this growing problem will help millions of people and save lives."

According to Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, a nonprofit patient advocacy group, "This study takes us one step closer to finding a treatment that will allow people to live without fear of having a reaction that could kill them."

Of the nine dogs in the study, four had peanut allergies and five had both milk and wheat allergies. Ten weeks after the dogs were vaccinated for the relevant allergenic foods, significantly greater amounts of the foods had to be used to generate a telltale allergic bump on the skin (called a wheal) in standard allergy skin tests.

In addition, all four of the peanut-allergic dogs tolerated eating much larger quantities of ground peanut after vaccination. As a group, they went from tolerating, on average, about one peanut to tolerating more than 37 peanuts. In fact, three of the four vaccinated dogs could eat a handful of peanuts - the maximum amount they were offered (about 57 peanuts) - without developing an
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Contact: Katharine Miller
ksmiller@stanford.edu
650-725-5371
Stanford University Medical Center
12-Nov-2004


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