Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Discover Promising New Treatment for Egg Allergy

Date:
July 18, 2012
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
Giving egg-allergic children small amounts of egg over many months found to reduce severe reactions, help some shed the allergy entirely.

Doctors currently have only one recommendation for people allergic to eggs: avoid eggs completely. But researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine recently found promise in doing just the opposite. Eating small amounts of egg every day for many months lowered the threshold for allergic reactions in 75 percent of egg-allergic children; 28 percent were able to incorporate egg into their regular diets after two years on the treatment.

Related Articles


"It's just what we had hoped for," said Wesley Burks, MD, Curnen Distinguished Professor and Chair of the UNC Department of Pediatrics and the study's lead author. "It's what we anticipated based on earlier studies, but we weren't sure it would happen. Almost a third of the children had a permanent change and were no longer egg-allergic."

The study appears online July 19, 2012, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Burks cautioned that the treatment is not yet ready for widespread adoption, however. "There are too many side effects that we don't really understand, and it could be dangerous if it was done by a family in a home," said Burks. "More studies are needed to understand the safety aspects better."

Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies and occurs most frequently in children. Although many children outgrow it by age 5, the allergy can persist into adulthood. Total egg avoidance is difficult when eggs lurk everywhere from baked goods to pastas and sauces; allergic reactions to accidental egg ingestion can be mild to severe and include skin, respiratory, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

"The intent of this study was to develop a new treatment for egg allergy because we really have no treatment now, other than avoidance," said Burks. "This study gives us hope that we're closer to developing a treatment." Burks added that the results may also have implications for treating other food allergies, such as allergies to milk or nuts.

The study enrolled 55 children and adolescents aged 5-18 with egg allergies that were considered unlikely to resolve on their own. Participants' families were given either small amounts of powdered egg (building up to the equivalent of 1/3 of an egg daily) or a placebo to mix into the child's food. Although children on the treatment experienced allergic reactions to the egg powder during the first few months of the study, none experienced a severe reaction.

After 10 months, researchers administered an "oral food challenge" to test participants' reactions to eating 5 grams of egg powder, equivalent to nearly a whole egg. Fifty-five percent of those on the treatment passed the challenge without significant allergic symptoms. None of the 15 participants who had been given a placebo passed the challenge.

After 22 total months, researchers performed another challenge during which participants on the treatment were given 10 grams of egg powder, equivalent to nearly two whole eggs. This time, 75% passed the challenge. Those who passed discontinued the treatment.

At month 24, those who had passed the second challenge and discontinued treatment were given a final test of 10 grams of egg powder plus a whole cooked egg. Twenty-eight percent of the original treatment group passed and were subsequently able to integrate egg into their regular diets.

Burks said the study demonstrates that there is hope for treating egg and other allergies, but further research is needed to determine how the treatment can be performed safely. Studies involving more patients would also help researchers determine which patients are most likely to benefit from the treatment.

The study was organized by the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR). Co-authors include Brian P. Vickery of UNC; Stacie M. Jones and Amy M. Scurlock of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital; Robert A. Wood of the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center; David M. Fleischer and Andrew H. Liu of National Jewish Health; Hugh A. Sampson and Scott H. Sicherer of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Robert W. Lindblad, Donald Stablein and Alice K. Henning of The EMMES Corporation; Wayne G. Shreffler of Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School; and Marshall Plaut of the National Institutes of Health.

This work was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, under grant numbers U19AI066738 and U01AI066560.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Wesley Burks, M.D., Stacie M. Jones, M.D., Robert A. Wood, M.D., David M. Fleischer, M.D., Scott H. Sicherer, M.D., Robert W. Lindblad, M.D., Donald Stablein, Ph.D., Alice K. Henning, M.S., Brian P. Vickery, M.D., Andrew H. Liu, M.D., Amy M. Scurlock, M.D., Wayne G. Shreffler, M.D., Ph.D., Marshall Plaut, M.D., and Hugh A. Sampson, M.D. for the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR). Oral Immunotherapy for Treatment of Egg Allergy in Children. New England Journal of Medicine, 2012; 367: 233-243 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200435

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Researchers Discover Promising New Treatment for Egg Allergy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718172828.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2012, July 18). Researchers Discover Promising New Treatment for Egg Allergy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718172828.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Researchers Discover Promising New Treatment for Egg Allergy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718172828.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Oral Immunotherapy Shows Promise as Treatment for Children With Egg Allergy, Study Finds

July 18, 2012 — A team of researchers has found that young children with egg allergies can benefit from treatment with oral ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins