Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Le Bonheur looking for parents who have children with a peanut allergy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Do you know of a parent who has a child with a peanut allergy?

If so, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital needs your help.

The hospital is looking for more patients to participate in their experimental “peanut patch” trials.

“We had to change a lot of our lifestyle,” Marcy Stagner said.

Stagner knows how challenging having a child with a food allergy can be.

She found out her now 7-year-old son was allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs and sesame seeds when he was an infant.

“Every birthday party I need to know what they are going have for food and if I need to send something with him,” Stagner said.

If approved, the skin patch named Viaskin may help children like hers.

Worn on a patient’s skin once a day, it works by exposing children with an allergy to small amounts of peanut proteins.

Experts say it may help slowly desensitize children allergic to peanuts and help them handle an accidental bite.

“The goal for most families is not to be able to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Dr. Jay Lieberman with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital said. “It’s to take away the fear of eating something unknown from a restaurant or at school and having that reaction.”

Dr. Lieberman oversees the trials into the patch at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

He said they’ve had great success with the patch in kids ages 1 to 3 and are now looking to enroll kids ages 4 to 7.

“Without volunteers to do the studies, we would never have any science to know whether any of these new therapies actually work,” Dr. Lieberman said.

Dr. Lieberman said peanut allergies among children have increased exponentially over the past few decades.

While the exact reason isn’t known, lifestyle, diet choices and genetics all seem to play a role.

“There’s something called the hygiene hypothesis, which states as we get cleaner and have vaccinations and hand sanitizers and we don’t get parasites and all of these things that all types of allergies, food allergy, asthma, hay fever, all of these things increase in incidence,” he said.

Stagner says the peanut patch may help put more parents’ minds at ease.

“If we’re contributing in any way to the research to hopefully make the world safer for kids who have these allergies, then that’s something that I’m all in for, because this is a really difficult thing to have to deal with,” she said.

Le Bonheur is looking for kids ages 4 to 7 with a proven peanut allergy to participate in this study.

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