New hope for kids with severe food allergies

One of the new class of biologics may have a pivotal role in desensitising children with severe food allergies, US researchers say.

That was the conclusion after their placebo-controlled study showed that a preliminary short course of the monoclonal antibody, omalizumab (Xolair) improved the safety and efficacy of oral immunotherapy in children with multiple severe Ig-E mediated food allergies.

Admittedly the study was small, involving only 48 children aged 4-15 years, and only looked at children with Ig-E mediated allergies to multiple foods but the implications, the study authors say are important.

These patients are a highly atopic population who are at risk of near-fatal or fatal food allergic reactions to multiple foods. There is plenty of evidence that oral immunotherapy is effective for single food desensitisation. However there has been little proof that immunotherapy works in children with allergies to multiple foods, and these are the ones more likely to accidentally ...

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