Thursday, February 06, 2014


There's been much discussion in recent years of the potential of using small amounts of allergens to help allergic kids develop tolerance and overcome allergies. Most recently, a study was published in The Lancet and featured in the news around the world.

These stories are very hopeful and I bet there is more good news on this front to come. However, as much as I would wish it to be the case, a handful of promising studies don't mean that my peanut allergic son will be giving up his auto-injector.

To the contrary, Daniel just concluded participation in a year long study. For a year, he wore a peanut protein patch on his back every day, removing one patch only to place another in a different spot. And for a a year, he wore a shirt all the time, even when swimming, because he got tired of explaining the loonie-sized welts on his back (this is how we knew he wasn't in the control group).

And when the trial drew to an end, he had the same anaphylactic reaction that he had when he'd first qualified for the trial (they gave him tiny amounts of peanut protein while he was hooked up to IV antihistamine). He actually reacted more quickly after a year of exposure. We have since learned that of the dozen or so kids that have finished the Canadian trial so far, half have improved, while the rest have not.

We saw the allergist a couple of days ago and he theorized that the most allergic subjects would be the least responsive to this kind of treatment. What's more, he was not surprised that Daniel is now allergic to chick peas, peas and probably other legumes. They are "cross-allergenic" with peanuts and this new allergy could well be related to the year of peanut exposure.

He's also added birch and elm (which may just be random, I don't know enough to say) to allergies to maple, all nuts, peanuts and cats.

The one bit of good news we got was that Daniel has outgrown his allergy to dogs. Since the notion of "hypo-allergenic" dogs was thoroughly dismissed by this same allergist a few years ago, we've felt a bit guilty about our dog's presence in the house and have tried to keep her out of his room. Now we don't have to.

Or, as Daniel says, "Now we can have five dogs."

That's my boy.

Update: Dreamfilm Productions told me in the comments that they have a documentary airing on The Nature of Things on February 27. It looks fascinating. I definitely plan to watch.



Dreamfilm Productions said...


You'll want to watch THE ALLERGY FIX - our documentary that looks at the current research/clinical trials going on in Canada, including one with a peanut patch. Perhaps even the one your son was in...

The doc airs Thurs Feb 27 at 7pm on CBC's The Nature of Things

tccomments2013 said...

dear Laurie,

thank you for sharing your wonderful son, Daniel's story. my, he sure is a handsome fellow, and I am so happy for you all not having to worry about him being allergic to the dog!

I did not know about Daniel and the struggle he has had with such a serious allergy. I can only imagine the heartache and worry your mother's heart has been through. I hope with all my heart that there will soon be a cure, and send you and Daniel and your family...

much love and light,

Karen XOXO

amyboughner said...

I have vivid and itchy memories of that damn arm test

Finola said...

Please send a big thank you to Daniel for participating in that study. I've been following these studies closely hoping they will help my daughter one day too. It's so disappointing that it didn't work for Daniel, and I'm so sorry some things are now worse. I'm sure a lot was learned though, and let's hope there are some more breakthroughs soon.

laurie said...

Thanks for the tip. I have updated the post, with a link to Dreamfilm productions and embedded your trailer in the post. I look forward to watching.

Karen, he is definitely a handsome fellow. :)

Amy, he had those dots down both arms from elbow to wrist. And he was so itchy! I distracted him with a good book and we set the timer so he could know that it would all end soon but he found it very hard.

laurie said...

Finola, there seem to be quite a few breakthroughs happening on this front. We haven't given up hope - although we wished things had turned out differently this time!