The long pursuit of a treatment for peanut allergy is littered with false dawns, but there are also some promising possibilities on the horizon, including one currently on the cusp of FDA approval. Another has just emerged via a promising early trial at Stanford University, where scientists found a single injection of an antibody treatment enabled those with severe allergies to stomach peanuts for some time.
The drug in question is called etokimab and is actually being trialed as treatment for eczema – just last month we reported on its promising results from a Phase 2a trial. The trials that followed last week weren’t so positive, as reported by FierceBiotech, with the drug actually doing worse than a placebo in alleviating symptoms of the skin condition.
Etokimab works by targeting an immune-signaling protein called IL-33, which summons the body’s immune cells to the site of an injury. But too much activity on part of the IL-33 protein can push these immune cells into overdrive, leading to different autoimmune conditions, including asthma, eczema and various allergic reactions. It is hoped that a drug like etokimab can help to keep the protein in check and stave off these ailments.
Medical scientists at Stanford University set out to explore its potential in treating peanut allergies, which had been hinted at through other trials last year. The team enlisted 20 adults with severe peanut allergies and treated 15 with a single etokimab injection, while the other five received a placebo.