Perth Children’s Hospital has launched a trial of an oral immunotherapy that could become Australia’s first treatment for peanut allergy.

As waitlists for children with food allergy continue to expand, PCH is investigating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of adding inexpensive off-the-shelf peanut flour to home meals under medical direction to desensitise pre-schoolers with peanut allergy. 

The randomised controlled trial, called Early Peanut Immunotherapy in Children (EPIC), is the first-of-its kind in Australia and will focus on using a possible early window of opportunity to safely and gradually reintroduce a small amount of peanut to desensitise and build up a degree of tolerance. 

The aim is to prevent and limit severe allergic reactions and potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis that occur when there is accidental exposure. 

Currently recruiting, the 12-month-long food-based trial will provide a small group of WA peanut allergy patients aged under five years with access to allergy treatment, while also allowing treatment protocols to be developed that could be readily adopted across Australia. 

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