In October 2019, “Therapy for Peanut Allergies” took the fourth spot on Cleveland Clinic’s Top 10 list of Medical Innovations expected to make an impact in healthcare in the year 2020. A novel concept, the oral biologic is a peanut-derived drug that delivers a target daily maintenance dose of 300 milligrams of peanut protein to those with allergies. Under the close watch of a medical professional, individuals build a tolerance to peanuts, ultimately allowing them to be more confident in their food choices, and handle accidental exposure without issue.
In a Phase III efficacy trial from January 2016 to July 2018, 554 participants consumed the oral biologic. In February 2018, the study’s primary endpoint was met, as 67.2% of patients receiving the therapy tolerated at least a 600-mg dose of peanut protein compared to 4.0% of placebo patients. Though experimental at the time of the Top 10 announcement, an FDA expert panel had recommended its approval in September 2019. The FDA announced its official approval of the therapy this February, making it the first clinical compound for this indicated use. The medication may be given to individuals aged 4 to 17 years with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy. While not a cure for the condition, the drug provides a bit of security, perhaps giving allergic children and their families a better quality of life.