Vaccine could potentially 'turn off' peanut allergies in mice: Study

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A vaccine decades in the making suppressed an allergic reaction in mice exposed to peanuts, according to a new study. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

Scientists are investigating an experimental vaccine that appeared to "turn off" a peanut allergy in mice, according to a new study.

Scientists from the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan investigated the effects of a nasal spray that was administered to lab mice three times over the course of as many months.

Researchers said the vaccine, which has been in development for nearly two decades, altered how immune cells in mice with allergies responded to the presence of peanuts, leading to "significant reductions in allergic hypersensitivity."

"By redirecting the immune responses, our vaccine not only suppresses the response but prevents the activation of cells that would initiate allergic reactions," study lead author Dr. Jessica O'Konek said in a news release.

The vaccine was tested up to two weeks after the final dose was administered.

O'Konek and other study authors say they hope to continue their research by investigating the physiological mechanisms that suppress food allergies. They also hope to determine how to make the vaccine last longer and potentially hold a clinical trial to test the vaccine in humans.

The research is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
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