New pill could suppress anaphylaxis allergic responses

Earlier this year we shared a story about a drug that could build up food immunity in children who suffer from allergies. Now, researchers from Northwestern University are reporting positive progress on an anaphylaxis-preventing pill that could be taken to prevent serious allergic reactions. 

The medicine was originally designed as an alternative to chemotherapy for some types of cancer, but the BTK inhibitor shows promising signs of being able to shut down a cellular process known to be involved in anaphylaxis. 

Early research on cancer patients has shown positive results in reducing allergic responses. Some patients saw skin test reactivity drop by up to 90 percent. Another small study also showed an effective reduction in reaction to allergens in healthy subjects with severe allergies. 

Although the researchers still have a ways to go before the drug is considered safe and affordable, it could potentially be lifesaving for millions of kids with serious food allergies such as the 1 million people in the United States with a peanut allergy. 

Being able to give your child a pill before they go to a birthday party or eat at an unfamiliar restaurant would mean security and peace of mind for parents and kids. Although the pill may not erase their allergic reactions completely, it would ensure that their reaction was mild enough to afford them the time to get medical care without a serious and potentially fatal anaphylaxis response.

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