by Kelley Lindberg
Two weeks ago, I wrote about a new British study being funded to research desensitization for food allergies on a larger scale than some previous studies (“New Desensitization Research Project in England”). Whenever I write about a new study like this, I worry that allergic individuals will try desensitizing themselves – or, more worrisome, their children – without benefit of the careful dosing and treatment regimen that the studies’ doctors provide.
I talked to Dr. Douglas Jones, a board-certified allergist in Layton (Rocky Mountain Allergy, Asthma, Immunology), last week about this very issue. He had just attended the February meeting of the Utah Society of Allergy and Asthma and the Annual meeting for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. He asked me to share with everyone some highlights of those meetings regarding this topic of food desensitization.
There are some limited studies that show some promising results as far as patients being desensitized and even becoming tolerant to foods they are allergic to (peanut in particular). There is not a standardized protocol yet. This is something that is currently under investigation and of high interest to allergists across the country and here in Utah. When there is appropriate medical evidence and support, food desensitization is something that will likely be offered by Dr. Jones and some other board-certified allergists in their clinics and under their supervision sometime in the near future.
Given the risks associated with this and the limited data, it is important to proceed appropriately and safely. Please do NOT try things at home on your own. Dr. Jones understands the frustrations of patients, your anxiety, and your desire to have safer and more effective treatment. He is just as anxious to try to provide a safe and effective treatment for patients with food allergies. He just wants to emphasize that it is important to go about things the right way, however. That way, when we do start using them in a clinical environment, we’ll have the best information and protocols possible for success. A little caution now is the key to long-term success. And that long-term success – in the form of a food allergy cure – is what we all want for our children and for their children in the years to come. Stay tuned, this is a rapidly developing area!
Many thanks to Dr. Douglas Jones for allowing me to share this information with my readers.