US News & World Report OIT Story: New Peanut Therapy Alters DNA

us news wideNew Peanut Therapy Alters DNA By Shannon Firth

A new experimental therapy creates changes in the DNA expression of peanut allergy sufferers.

Using blood tests and DNA sequencing technology, researchers at Stanford University were able to successfully predict which subjects with peanut allergies would react to a peanut test.

At the end of 24 months, all of the subjects who had undergone the peanut treatment showed no allergic response. Their DNA looked similar to a non-allergic person’s. But after stopping their daily treatment for a period of three months, the allergic reaction returned for some subjects. By looking at a very specific part of the DNA a gene called FOXP3 inside the very specific T-cells they could predict which subjects would have an allergic response by identifying the people who had regained this extra layer of DNA.

What’s more, if the DNA changes are sustainable, it is possible that those who overcome their allergies could pass their immunity onto their kids.

What this means for future research is that scientists now know where to look to determine whether patients have successfully overcome their allergy or whether they need to continue therapy. And while eating peanuts everyday, especially peanut butter cups, might seem fun at first, people could get bored after a while and stop, says Nadeau.

“This study is impactful because it offers scientist a prototype by which you can look at mechanism and really dig deep because of the tools that we have now have. Tools that wouldn’t have been available five years ago,” says Nadeau. This therapy does not yet have FDA approval and more research is needed to validate the results of the study.

“You would never want to do this therapy at home because it’s something that has to be done in a hospital setting because it’s investigational and experimental,” says Nadeau.

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For more articles about the positive DNA /epigenetic changes, see the following articles in our OIT Research & Learn Center

Long-Term Effects

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