An advisory committee with the Food and Drug Administration has announced that they have voted to recommend a peanut allergy treatment for FDA approval, NBC reports. The CDC estimates that 8% of children in the United States have food allergies, and many of those food allergies can be deadly. Peanut allergies are increasing in children every year and can pose a serious health threat for those who are exposed to peanuts or who accidentally ingest them due to product mislabeling. Having a peanut allergy or a child with a peanut allergy can be scary but some good news has recently been announced.
The drug is called Palforzia and is made by biopharmaceutical company Aimmune Therapeutics. The drug is oral immunotherapy and its purpose is to reduce the severity of allergic reactions in patients between the ages of 4 and 17 who have an accidental exposure to peanuts. Aimmune Therapeutics states that Palforzia can even reduce reactions including anaphylaxis.
The drug still hasn't been approved by the FDA but they typically follow the suggestions of their advisory boards. “We are very pleased that APAC voted in favor of PALFORZIA. This is an important day for the children, teens and their families who live with the profound daily impact of peanut allergy. We look forward to continuing to work with the FDA as we move towards a potential approval of PALFORZIA,” said Jayson Dallas, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Aimmune. “We are immensely grateful to the entire food allergy community for helping us bring PALFORZIA one step closer to becoming the first FDA-approved treatment for any food allergy.”
A press release announcing the news noted more than 1.6 million children and teens in the U.S. are affected peanut allergies. While some children have grown out of their allergies, for others it's something they have to deal with their entire lives, and for many, their peanut allergy can be deadly.
The vote by the advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was 7-2 to approve Palforzia. "I voted 'yes' because I thought the data was quite clear, and I would actually compliment the sponsor on the extent and caliber of the studies," said Dr. Ira Finegold, a professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
A final decision on the approval of the drug by the FDA is expected early next year.