Dr. William K. Dolen, Allergist at Georgia Regents University says, “This is much more about saving lives then it is about comfort. Food allergy can be extremely dangerous for a small number of people and accidental exposures can be hard to avoid.”
Four percent of the population has some type of food allergy and for some people that means every meal could be life-threatening.
In 2003, the Duke University Food Allergy Program began clinical trials to try and find a cure, recently, they've seen a possible breakthrough.
Dr. Anthony Bonitatibus, Allergist of Augusta Allergy & Asthma says, “There is some kind of cutting edge stuff going on, places like Duke University. They're doing research on actually desensitizing severely allergic children to peanut, milk, egg.”
Dr. Bonitatibus says it is a lot like treating seasonal allergies, but with food.
“In a similar fashion to how we do allergy shots for seasonal allergies. They're actually in a controlled fashion feeding very small amounts of the food to the children in the office and over time kind of breaking the sensitivity,” says Dr. Bonitatibus.
Dr. Bonitatibus is cautiously optimistic that the latest food allergy research could lead to hope for people suffering every day.
“I know how frustrating it is for my patients with food allergies. I would love to be able to offer them something more than avoidance,” says Dr. Bonitatibus.
Dr. Dolen says that once oral desensitization becomes a standard procedure it will be offered at GRU.
Reporting in Augusta, meteorologist Jason Nappi, WJBF, News Channel 6.