Nutrition Unscrambled

Tricking the Body-Against Peanut and Egg Proteins Allergens

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 17th, 2011

Researchers in a new preclinical study for Northwestern Medicine have tricked the immune system. They have figured out how to turn off a life threatening allergic response to peanuts (nut proteins). The investigators used mice (that were bred to mimic one with severe food allergies) and attached peanut proteins to leucocytes and reintroduced them into the mice’s bodies. What happened next? The mice ingested a peanut extract and did not have an allergic reaction.

In a second phase of the study, the researchers successfully desensitized mice to egg proteins. The Northwestern researchers used the same tactic with an egg protein. They attached the proteins to white blood cells and infused the cells back into the mice. The mice then inhaled the asthma-provoking egg protein and their lungs did not become inflamed. Dr. Paul J. Bryce, Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Feinberg School of Medicine,noted that it appears that this approach can be used to target multiple food allergies at one time.

Each year there are between 15,000 and 30,000 episodes of food-induced anaphylaxis and 100 to 200 related deaths in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. This study may be the link regulating allergic diseases. To quote Dr. Stephen D Miller, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor at the Feinberg School: “This is an exciting new way in which we can regulate specific allergic diseases and may eventually be used in a clinical setting for patients.”

If this were successful in clinical settings, what would it look like? People with food allergies would not have to worry everyday about coming in contact with the allergen causing food. Also, it would mean that people would be able to enjoy the “allergen causing foods” without risk!

A Success Story:Achieving a Negative Blood and Skin Allergy Test for Eggs Now…Ryan is Able to Enjoy Eggs

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
July 8th, 2011

Today’s blog is a success story from my friend and previous coworker Jill.  Her son Ryan is 10 years of age and has several food allergies.

When he was one he was diagnosed with many food allergies through blood and skin testing. One of these allergies was egg. Ryan has continued to go yearly to his allergist for repeat blood and skin testing. These tests continued to come back positive until this year. This past May, he had a negative skin and blood test for eggs and the allergist suggested that he participate in an oral food challenge in her office. In June, Ryan participated in an egg food challenge where he was given bites of egg that started out very small and ended up bite size. He finished an egg in 3-1/2 hours without any reactions.

Ryan is now able to eat eggs regularly and loves them. He is an avid soccer player, so having an extra and easy source of protein available to eat before practice or games is really important. He is a happy kid!


Nutrition Unscrambled  is written by nutrition experts with the Egg Nutrition Center, which is funded by the American Egg Board. It is monitored and maintained by the public relations agency of record. The mission of the Egg Nutrition Center is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information and the acknowledged leader in research and education related to eggs. For more information, click here.

About the Bloggers

Mitch Kanter, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about
Mitch, click here.
Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD is the Senior Director, Nutrition Education at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Marcia, click here.
Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN is the Program Manager, Nutrition Research and Communications at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Anna, click here.

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All information provided within this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and it is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or before making changes to your diet or health behaviors.