— -- A new study may spell hope for millions who suffer from peanut allergies.
Scientists in Australia are reporting successful preliminary trials for a pill filled with a mix of probiotics and tiny amounts of peanut to build tolerance to peanut allergies.
Study author Dr. Mimi Tang told the medical journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health that roughly four out of five children who achieved tolerance after the first trial of the probiotic peanut pill were still eating peanuts four years later and seven in 10 of them had passed a "tolerance challenge."
In the first study, four years ago, 56 children took the pill once daily for 18 months. In this most recent study, 48 of the 56 participated.
"What we found was that the majority of children who achieved tolerance after the end of treatment in the original study were still eating peanuts four years after having stopped their treatment," Tang said.
She said the team of scientists were trying to "reprogram the immune response away from allergy towards tolerance."
"So we were very excited by these findings because to us it really shows that the probiotic-peanut combination can actually change the immune response to peanut and provide benefits, long-term, years after having stopped the treatment," she said.