Stanford Researchers Unlock the Peanut Allergy in DNA
Stanford Researchers have unlocked the portion of DNA responsible for peanut allergies. After conducting experiments dedicated to building immunity through feeding small doses of peanuts to individuals over a long period of time, the research team was able to determine the gene FOXP3 plays a pivotal role in peanut allergies. Using epigenetics, Scientists have been able to look closely at DNA and identify the extra layer of “globs” on the FOXP3 gene to be the cause of the allergy. Scientists are now able to predict which subjects would have a peanut allergy, and therefore no immunity, simply by the presence of the “globs.” What does this mean? We can now determine whether a person has overcome a peanut allergy or not on a genetic level.
Much research is still needed to solidify this process and get FDA approval. However, Scientists are hoping to sustain the changes in the DNA to allow for the immunity to be passed along to offspring. Researchers have also noted children born without the FOXP3 gene are found to have bad allergies and autoimmune issues. The presence of the gene is paramount, however, it is the way it modulates that determines the peanut allergy. Further research is being pursued. The Stanford Research team is excited for the discoveries that lie ahead and express that no person with a peanut allergy should self-treat. All treatment and research is done in a hospital with extreme care and is investigational. The FDA, at this point, has not approved their treatment. (VNN – Addison Naugle) (Image: Flickr | desegura89)