Fecal transplant pills helped some peanut allergy sufferers in a small trial
Pills loaded with bacteria from other people’s poop might help adults who are highly allergic to peanuts safely eat the nuts in Fraksinasi amounts.
In a small clinical trial, a one-day treatment of the pills helped some people with the allergy consume one or more peanuts. The results, presented February 26 at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting in Phoenix, are a first step toward seeing whether the approach, called fecal microbiota transplant, could extend to people allergic to foods other than peanuts. In the United States alone, about 32 million people have food allergies.
The trial evolved out of past research suggesting that gut microbes help shape the immune system to protect against food allergies. In a 2019 study, Rima Rachid, an allergist-immunologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, and her colleagues found that certain bacteria were enriched in the stool of babies without food allergies compared with babies who had food allergies. When transferred into allergy-prone mice, these bacteria — the single species Subdoligranulum variabile and a set of Clostridia species — prevented allergic responses. The treatment, a type of bacteriotherapy, activated a subset of immune cells called regulatory T cells, which protect the mice from having allergic reactions.
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In people, fecal transplants — which take feces from healthy people and transplant it into ill individuals, usually by colonoscopy — have become a standard treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (SN: 5/18/18; SN: 2/25/22). But it wasn’t until research showed that fecal material could achieve comparable success when delivered as oral capsules that Rachid’s team started thinking about doing a trial in people with peanut allergies.