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Million Dollar Grant Funds Research into Peanut Allergy Cure

Source: Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District
Archived 18 Jan 2016 - Posted: 19 Nov 2015
On 9 November, the latest round of funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) announced a $1.13 million grant towards potentially life-saving research into a treatment for peanut allergies involving researchers at Nepean Hospital and the Sydney Medical School Nepean.

Food allergies affect a growing number of Australian children and in the case of peanut allergies, can trigger severe or fatal anaphylaxis.

Most children with peanut allergies remain allergic for life and with an average of three per cent of children affected, this ground-breaking research could prove to be life-changing for affected people who must strictly avoid their trigger foods and carry an Epipen.

While there is no cure for peanut allergy, researchers will investigate whether desensitisation against peanuts can be made more effective by adding a special dietary supplement developed in Australia by the CSIRO. Animal studies using this supplement have so far yielded some positive results and researchers are hopeful this may lead to a breakthrough in treatments for food allergies.

The clinical trial will be led by Professor Dianne Campbell at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead with a large part of the experimental work to investigate the underlying immunological mechanisms conducted at the Sydney Medical School Nepean and in laboratories at Nepean Hospital.

Professor Ralph Nanan, a Chief Investigator, Head of the Nepean Paediatric Immunology Unit and Director of the Charles Perkins Centre Nepean, said much of the groundwork for the study was performed at Nepean, funded by strong community support from the Australian Women and Children’s Research Foundation (OZWAC) and the Nepean Medical Research Fund.

“Attracting this grant has been a real community effort. The support from the Nepean community funded research that provided important pilot data, giving us a leg-up to be successful for this grant in an extremely competitive national and international funding environment,” said Professor Nanan.

Preliminary results from pilot data suggested that this novel approach might also work in humans.

“We are endlessly grateful to the local community for their ongoing support towards our research, which could now result in a breakthrough for food allergies,” said Professor Nanan.

This article archived 18 Jan 2016

 
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