Question: Why do some children outgrow food allergies sooner than others?
Answer: That's one of the great questions that we struggle to answer. And it can be expanded a little bit further to say, "Why are some food allergies easier to outgrow than others?"
And with allergy, everything goes back to the immune system -- and these differences, in one child versus another outgrowing a food allergy, or in one food being more easily outgrown than another -- we think all of this goes back to the way the immune system recognizes these food proteins as allergens and the way the immune system develops an allergic response to those food proteins.
So we actually have done studies with milk and egg and peanut allergy. What we've been able to show that if your immune system recognizes certain pieces of the protein in those foods, it may make it more or less easy to outgrow those food allergies, whereas if they recognize other segments of the food protein, it may have a different effect on their ability to outgrow the allergy.
The exciting part about this is we think that in the next five or 10 years it will be possible to develop specific tests where we're not just measuring someone's allergy to milk protein where we could actually measure their allergy to a very specific part of the milk protein to give a better idea about the prognosis for that specific child's chance of outgrowing the milk allergy.