Microbial therapy may be the answer to irritating food allergies

August 26, 2019

Food allergies have become common place in most modernised countries and are quite tricky to keep in check. A new study by Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Massachusetts, US, may however change the onset of food allergies and also reverse existing ones.

Upon examining the gut microbiome composition of some 150 infants through faecal samples, the scientists managed to identify -using computational approaches- certain bacteria that protects the human gut from food allergies.

A subsequent mouse study affirmed the allergic association of a specific handful of gut bacteria that were in lower abundance some infants suffering from food allergies – mice sensitised to an egg allergen were found to be protected from its allergic reactions when administered a specific cocktail of six gut bacterial species. Interestingly, these specific bacterial cocktails later completely suppressed allergic reactions in another set of mice with a known food allergy.

Senior study author, Talal Chatila, explains that the microbiome is a fundamental mechanism in determining the development of food allergies, “In adult mice that had become food-allergic, we could suppress their disease by introducing the good bacteria, so there is potential to treat somebody with an established food allergy and reset their immune system in favor of tolerance.”

Chatila has founded a company that aims to create novel microbial therapies to treat allergies and to provide an alternative diagnostic approach to disease.

Meanwhile, the scientists are working on several human clinical trials which will target peanut allergies in adults and infants, as well as specifically generated probiotic mixes for pediatric food allergies.


Category: Education, Features

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