This weekend’s annual scientific meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology features hundreds of research presentations, many of which provide noteworthy new findings in the field of food allergy. FARE staff is in attendance here in Los Angeles along with thousands of allergists, immunologists, researchers and other healthcare providers.
On Saturday, researchers presented a number of abstracts at the meeting. Here, we provide highlights from a few of the studies discussed.
- Long-Term Follow-Up After Peanut Immunotherapy – In this study, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine sought to learn more about the long-term outcomes in patients who were enrolled in a peanut immunotherapy trial. Participants who passed an oral food challenge after a period of maintenance dosing stopped treatment for four weeks and then re-challenged to determine sustained unresponsiveness (tolerance). Researchers then conducted follow-ups at 9-month intervals over a period of 27-28 months to assess peanut ingestion and adverse reactions. Of 21 participants, 11 were still ingesting peanut after 27 months, but two of those 11 experienced reactions that required epinephrine and nine reported intermittent symptoms. Researchers concluded that there is a need for additional long-term follow-up studies to understand the degree of protection offered by this approach.
- Food Allergen Labeling and Purchasing Habits in the US and Canada – This study stems from a survey originally conducted by FARE regarding the purchasing habits of consumers with food allergies. A similar survey was conducted by Canada. Among the findings, researchers learned that nearly half of respondents were either unsure or incorrectly believed that “may contain” statements are required by law, demonstrating the need for improved awareness and education.
- Comparison of Food Allergy Awareness and Self-Management Among College Students at 3 Large U.S. Universities – Researchers sought to better understand food allergy awareness and the behaviors of college students with respect to their food allergies by administering an online survey of undergraduate students at University of Pittsburgh, University of Michigan and Ohio State University. They learned that only a little over half (57.4 percent) of the students reported always carrying an epinephrine auto-injector and less than half (48.8 percent) reported always avoiding their food allergen. Significant differences in reported food allergy rates, dining hall labeling and rates of campus contact awareness were seen between campuses. No differences were seen among campuses in rates of students with past anaphylaxis, carrying an epinephrine auto-injector, food preparer awareness and allergen avoidance.
- A Prospective Microbiome-Wide Association Study of Childhood Food Sensitization and Allergy – In this study, a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston explored whether alterations in the intestinal microbiome are associated with food allergy. They performed analyses of child intestinal microbiome samples collected from children participating in a follow-up phase of an interventional trial of high-dose Vitamin D given during pregnancy. At age 3, sensitization to foods was assessed. There were 87 cases of food sensitization and 14 cases of food allergy. Certain bacteria were underrepresented among those with food sensitization while other bacteria was underrepresented among those with food allergy. The authors suggest the microbiome may have an underlying role in facilitating the development of food allergy, which they believe might be prevented by altering the bacteria in the intestines. Further work with large numbers of patients is necessary. FARE has funded other work on this topic. Read more.
Stay tuned to our blog for more updates from the AAAAI meeting.