Scientists think they have found something of a cure for peanut allergies and allergies to other foods, according to research released Wednesday in the Journal of Immunology.
We think we've found a way to safely and rapidly turn off the allergic response to food allergies, Dr. Paul J. Bryce, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill. said in a statement Wednesday.
Bryce completed the research with his colleague, Dr. Stephen D. Miller, also of Northwestern.
The way the two scientists think the allergic response can be turned off was seen in experiments on mice. The mice were bred to have a condition like a severe food allergy. The scientists injected peanut proteins into blood cells called leukocytes and then reintroduced the leukocytes into the mice's bodies.
When the mice ate a peanut extract, they experienced no allergic reaction or anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock), during which the throat can close.
Their immune system saw the peanut protein as perfectly normal because it was already presented on the white blood cells, Bryce said. Without the treatment, these animals would have gone into anaphylactic shock.
Peanuts are the No. 1 cause of fatal food allergic reactions, but the scientists were also able to turn off allergic reactions in mice with egg proteins.
This has yet to be tested on humans, and there are currently no plans for tests.
Then again, people might not want to buy peanut butter anyway, with the way prices are going.