Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Duke Clinical Trial Update

I haven't written about our visits to Duke in a while simply because we haven't gone in a while.  Our last visit was the first week of December, and we don't go back until the second week in February.  Abigail is on the maintenance dose which means we no longer have to go every other week to increase her dose.  We go back in February for blood work, in April to discuss her pending food challenge and the end of May for her food challenge.

Speaking of food challenges, they've started for this study.  The first food challenge occurs 12 months after entering the study.  It's double blinded so that each child will get both a round of peanut flour and oat flour. They do that because nausea and vomiting can be a side effect of both a peanut reaction and pure anxiety. When I talked with our doctor late last week, 6 children had already completed their food challenge, and another 2 were schedule for each week over the course of the next couple of months. 

The first 3 kids to do their food challenge ended up being on the placebo, and will have to re-enter the study.  They're guaranteed to get the peanut protein this time around. There were mixed results on the other 3 that were getting the peanut protein. They didn't see particularly good results on the first two children, and it sounded like there were some extenuating circumstances for both.  However, the third child tolerated the full dose of peanut flour. Did I mention that it was the equivalent of 8 1/2 peanuts??  I know it's just one child, but I couldn't help getting very excited when I heard the news. Only time will tell, but it is very encouraging and makes our food challenge something to look forward to as opposed to dreading!

It's believed that just a small amount of daily peanut protein, over time, will re-train the immune system to accept the offending allergen as normal.  What Abigail's doctor explained was that the immune system is very slow to respond.  A year may not be long enough to re-train the immune system.  So, the results of the first food challenge aren't necessary indicative of the final outcome.  Between me and you though, I'll take 8 1/2 peanuts all day long!!