Monday, September 8, 2014

New Food Allergy Treatment on the Horizon?

By Kelley Lindberg

Dr. Fred Finkelman
(photo courtesy of FARE)
FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) is reporting today that they’re awarding a $734,986 research grant to leading immunologist Fred Finkelman, M.D., at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine/Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in his efforts to suppress anaphylaxis. Dr. Finkelman is developing a therapy that may be able to desensitize a patient to ALL of their food allergies at the same time, and potentially in as short a time period as 24 hours.

With this therapy, a patient would probably be injected with a unique antibody that Finkelman and his team have developed in their lab. The antibody would then target mast cells and remove the IgE and IgE receptors on those mast cells, which are responsible for releasing the chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction. In a previous study, Dr. Finkelman injected mice with this antibody, and the treatment prevented anaphylaxis.

In plain English, this means that after being injected with this new antibody, the patient’s body will stop reacting to food allergens!

Right now, Dr. Finkelman and his team are still working with mice, so human trials are still years away. And their therapy in mice has taken weeks to build up a resistance, so they are hoping to shorten that timeframe significantly with their future study. Dr. Finkelman emphasizes that his process would not cure allergies, but would suppress allergies. He believes it has the potential to suppress food allergies, skin allergies, and even asthma and environmental allergies (hay fever). But this is the type of therapy that so many of us are desperately hoping for, so I am thrilled and grateful to FARE for supporting Dr. Finkelman’s research with this significant grant.

To read more about this grant and Dr. Finkelman’s work, check out these links:


Jennifer Davies said...

Even with human trials years away, this is still the most optimistic view of allergies I've ever read. Food allergies lower the quality of life for a lot of people. Something like this could really change lives.

Jenn |

Angela Killpack said...

I have a lot of friends with food and animal allergies. I am so glad that I don't have any that I know of. It would be incredible if there was a therapy to overcome all allergies!

Kent Clark said...

I recently had an outbreak of hives. They are all over my body. I'm finally getting past them. I just wish I knew what cause them. I'm a little unsure. I know it was something I ate on Sunday for dinner. The problem is that I had a lot for that dinner.

Tom said...

My son has a peanut allergy, which may have been caused from the antibiotics given to him as a child. Is it possible to take blood from me (father) to cure his allergic reaction to nuts? Is there any antibodies in my digestive system that could be transplanted into my son's body to help cure him?

Tom Rissmann (

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

Tom, at this point there is a study investigating the role gut bacteria may play in protecting against allergic reactions, but so far it is only in trials with mice. If that study shows positive results in humans, I would assume the most likely treatment would involve something that would restore the gut bacteria to the patient (like administering probiotics in pill form, perhaps). But we are a long ways from really knowing if this will work. I have heard NO information about using blood from a relative to accomplish this -- that seems unlikely to me because the gut bacteria damaged by antibiotics reside in the gastro-intestinal area, not in the blood. So while I completely support your concern for your son, I would suggest keeping tabs on the gut bacteria research that's going on instead. I will be posting about the recent study I saw on this soon, and I will keep posting updates as I hear them. Good luck with your son! In the meantime, there are also promising studies in desensitization therapy, Chinese herbal therapy, and others. I hope within the next 5 years we'll have better treatments available.

Tom said...

Thank you for your feedback

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Sergio Freddson said...

This is very interesting! I had bad food allergies growing up and always struggled to find foods that I could eat. It was such a frustrating issue. When will this procedure be available to people? Is it far in the future or will it be available soon? Thanks for sharing the news!

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

Sergio, this treatment is a long ways off at this point. It will have to go through several phases of testing before it even gets to human trials. I hope we'll see progress in the next 5 - 10 years!