A new oral therapy that combines a probiotic and peanut protein appears to be a successful immunotherapy for peanut allergy, based on a study conducted by researchers at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Australia.

More than 60 children with diagnosed peanut allergy were administered either a dose of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus combined with peanut protein or placebo over 18 months to assess the efficacy of this treatment in modifying allergic response to peanuts.

The children in the probiotic/peanut protein arm received a fixed dose of probiotic, but the peanut protein dose was initiated at a low dose that increased every two weeks until the maintenance dose (2g) was reached. At the end of the treatment, a peanut challenge was performed to determine the child’s ability to tolerate peanuts two to five weeks after stopping treatment.

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More than 80% of the children in the probiotic/peanut protein arm were able to tolerate peanuts at the end of the trial compared with less than 4% in the placebo group; the success rate for this treatment was 20 times greater than the natural rate of resolution of peanut allergy.

Additional research is needed to assess if the oral immunotherapy has a lasting effect in children, years after the conclusion of the study.

This article originally appeared on MPR