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Trial raises allergy treatment hope

A trial aimed at helping children overcome their peanut allergy has produced 'very promising results', US researchers say.

Experts found youngsters could build up their tolerance to peanuts if they were given daily drops of peanut protein under the tongue.

It is the first time scientists have used peanut drops, which they say have fewer side-effects than the peanut flour used in other studies.

About one in 50 youngsters in the UK suffers a peanut allergy, which can cause breathing problems and, in severe cases, a potentially fatal reaction called anaphylaxis.

For the latest research, experts in Massachusetts and North Carolina recruited 18 children aged between one and 11.

Eleven of the children were given daily drops containing increasing doses of peanut protein while seven children were given dummy drops.

The results showed that, after one year, those children on the peanut drops had built up their tolerance until they were consuming the equivalent of five to 10 peanuts a day.

Meanwhile, those on placebo drops were unable to tolerate even one peanut.

The results of the first year of the trial will be presented at the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology conference in Nottingham this week.

Copyright © Press Association 2011