This Toothpaste May Help Reduce Peanut Allergies

Immunotherapy peanut allergy treatment could make tackling your food allergies as simple as brushing your teeth.

Apr 14, 2021
This Toothpaste May Help Reduce Peanut Allergies | Immunotherapy peanut allergy treatment could make tackling your food allergies as simple as brushing your teeth.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a part of childhood unless you have to forgo eating this tasty lunch because of peanut allergies. But now there is hope that a new, easy to use, immunotherapy  treatment may allow  people who have peanut allergies to someday be able to eat PB&J without fear.

Intrommune Therapeutics,  a New York City biotechnology startup, has a mission to develop safe and effective therapies for food allergy sufferers – especially peanut allergies which make up 25 percent of childhood food allergies and can be very severe – so that they can live without the fear of severe reactions. The company delivers new immunotherapy via a specially formulated toothpaste that is now in phase1 human clinical trials according to the company's website.

A small group of 32 peanut-allergy sufferers are being exposed to small doses of the allergen daily in order to build up and maintain  tolerances. The company believes that the new toothpaste will do a better job than allergy injections or  existing oral immunotherapy which consists  of eating small amounts of allergens according to Science News. This therapy can trigger allergic reactions and tolerance can wear off.

Allergies are serious business, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) over 24 million people in the US are affected by them and they are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness. Symptoms can range from runny noses, wheezing , asthma,  rashes, all the way to anaphylactic shock.

William Reisacher, an allergist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City was thinking about how to treat severe allergies and the idea of delivering daily therapy doses via a toothpaste came to him as a eureka moment when he was brushing his teeth he told Science News.

 “I saw all the foam in my mouth going into all the areas I wanted it to go,” Reisacher said.  “If food proteins could be delivered as a toothpaste, that would get the treatment to the right cells and embed it in a routine daily habit. ”

Reisacher co-founded the company with Michael Nelson in 2016 to develop the concept. Using a toothpaste ensures that the immunotherapy goes where it is supposed to and because toothbrushing  is already a daily routine, it is easy to remember to use it every day, according to Free Think.   

However, there are drawbacks to the use of the toothpaste including the risk of getting too much peanut proteins into the user's bloodstream if the patient has inflamed gums, tooth loss, or is post-dental surgery.

The founders hope that when these clinical trials are complete, they can tweak the toothpaste to provide immunotherapy for other food allergies. Nelson told Science Direct that future trials may test toothpastes that contain several allergens. This could offer relief to food allergy sufferers that will have less severe reactions or no reactions to the foods that can endanger their lives.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.