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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:16 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 1099
Location: Kingston
New Montreal clinic aims to desensitize children to food allergies

In the coming months, dozens of children with food allergies will begin a treatment to desensitize them to their allergens as part of a three-year pilot project at Montreal’s Sainte-Justine hospital.

Oral immunotherapy involves consuming small portions of the food they’re allergic to each day.

The amount is gradually increased, with the goal of bettering the patient’s quality of life and decreasing the risk of an allergic reaction if they accidentally consume the wrong food.

The success rate is around 70 to 80 per cent, according to a researcher in the field.

“When you go out to the restaurant, or out with friends or to school, let’s say your dose of sensitization is four peanuts a day, you won’t have an accident (if you consume) something with traces or with a peanut,” according to Philippe Begin, an allergist-immunologist.

In certain cases, the desensitization can become permanent.

“There are some who are able to stop taking the treatment and the responsiveness doesn’t come back,” Begin said Sunday at a conference hosted by the hospital.

“That’s great when it happens, but at the moment we don’t know who will experience this benefit.”

Begin said the goal of the clinic is not to do research, but rather to make the treatment more available and eventually transfer the knowledge to other health centres.

The clinic hopes to ultimately treat about 775 patients.

Oral immunotherapy is much more common at private clinics in the United States than in Quebec, where the public health system doesn’t necessarily have the resources for such treatment.

The organization Bye Bye Allergies raised $780,000 to open the centre at Sainte-Justine, with the Quebec government contributing about the same amount.

Bye Bye Allergy’s president said it’s eventual goal was to make the treatment available across the province.

“There are 60,000 allergic children in Quebec, and not all families have access to this treatment,” Sophie Beugnot said. “They’re found in all the regions of Quebec, not just the greater Montreal area.”

Begin said the treatment isn’t for everyone.

Because of the demands it puts on patients, he says only those whose quality of life is affected by allergies should seek it out.

Patients must make regular hospital visits, take their daily doses and may have to contend with allergic reactions, although Begin stresses most of these are minor.

“It takes people who are very, very motivated and very, very diligent,” he said.

For now, the treatment is aimed at children because the outcome appears more promising for them.

More research is needed to determine whether it can be given to adults, he said. ... 38dbe96de4


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