November 3, 2000
Peanut and tree nut allergy can be a serious condition that affects approximately three million Americans. There is no cure for peanut allergy, merely symptomatic relief, and there is a lack of public and medical understanding of the condition. Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla has joined with six other leading medical research centers from across the country to form the Centers for Peanut Allergy Awareness with the purpose of helping to increase understanding of peanut allergy. The medical research centers are currently conducting a peanut allergy study designed to determine if an investigational drug can lessen the severity of an allergic reaction in sufferers. San Diego-area peanut allergy sufferers, ages 12 to 60, are being sought for participation. Those interested in more information can call 1-877-316-7865 or visit www.Peanut-AllergyResource.com.
Peanuts are the leading cause of fatal food allergic reactions followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs and reactions are typically characterized by more severe symptoms than other food allergies. A reaction is usually brought on by accidentally ingesting food containing peanut as an ingredient. During a reaction, the body's immune system mistakes the food for a harmful allergen and immediately begins to combat the foreign substance. The resulting reaction can range from mild hives and nausea, to a severe reaction in which the sufferer can go into anaphylactic shock, an allergic reaction in which the release of histamine causes swelling, difficulty in breathing, heart failure, circulatory collapse, and sometimes death.
"Peanut allergy is a poorly characterized condition and many people don't realize how serious it is and how dramatically it can affect the physical and emotional lives of sufferers, their families and friends," comments Ronald A. Simon, M.D., division head, Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Department, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. "Right now current treatments for peanut allergy only address the symptoms. That's why this study is so important because it focuses on the need for research into preventive treatments."