UCS Hampstead Pre Prep student has life-changing result in landmark peanut allergy trial
PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:30 23 November 2018
A Kentish Town youngster is looking forward to having fun like a normal kid after taking part in a landmark global study for peanut allergy sufferers.
Emily Pratt, who was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy aged one, took part in a trial for a year which involved her building up her tolerance of peanut protein in a controlled environment at Evelina London’s children hospital.
The six-year-old, who is a pre-prep student at UCS Hampstead, was able to tolerate around seven peanuts by the end of the trial – to the joy of the Pratt family.
“The study has completely changed our lives,” mum Sophie said. “Before Emily took part we were uncomfortable being more than twenty minutes away from a hospital and she wasn’t able to attend play dates or parties without me or my husband being there.
“We had to constantly study food labels to ensure peanuts were completely eliminated from Emily’s diet.
“Her allergy was very severe so even a small amount of peanut could lead to a very serious reaction. The impact on our family life was huge.”
Sophie, who also has an 11-year-old son, added: “We can now let her socialise with friends and do all the normal things that other children do without worrying that she might have a severe reaction.”
Researchers had been attempting to combat the potentially life-threatening condition, which has doubled over the last two decades and affects around one in 50 children in the UK. The condition is rarely outgrown and is the most common cause of food allergy deaths.
The results of the PALISADE study mean people living with severe peanut allergy could be protected from life-threatening reactions that arise through accidental exposure by building their tolerance level, in the same way that you would treat pollen and bee sting allergies.
None of nearly 500 four to 17-year-olds from the US and Europe could tolerate even a 10th of a peanut dose before the trial, but after taking tiny daily doses for a year, two-thirds could tolerate at least two whole peanuts.
Evelina London was one of the lead recruiters to the study, which is the largest ever peanut allergy treatment trial.