A new type of flour that could be used in food-based therapies to help people better tolerate their allergy triggers, including peanuts, has been developed by scientists at the University of a North Carolina (UNC).
The scientists developed a modified flour powder in which cranberry polyphenols were bound to peanut proteins, as reported by Australian Food News. With this extra cargo, the peanut-containing powder triggered the beneficial desensitisation reactions, without provoking harmful allergic responses in laboratory tests with mice.
The scientists noted the technique could also be adapted for other food allergies.UNC researcher Mary Ann Lila noted an experimental treatment that involves giving minute quantities of the trigger food to patients over a period of time in a clinic was successful for some patients who are allergic to peanuts.
The process, called desensitisation, sets off beneficial responses by the body to the food. Nonetheless, the milled roasted peanut flour that is currently used can have severe side effects.
Ms Lila’s team said the flour they developed could help control food allergies without causing dangerous side effects.