Study finds method for curing children's egg allergies
POSTED: Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 7:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 11:09am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Whether it's nuts, eggs, milk or shellfish millions of children in the U.S. suffer from food allergies.
Tad Kuroda was diagnosed with one after eating cake on his first birthday.
"His eye would start to swell and his face would swell, and he started having some hives, and he started throwing up," recalls his mother, Stephanie Kuroda.
Tad was allergic to the egg in the cake.
That meant completely avoiding them, not only in scrambled form, but also the eggs hidden in baked goods, ice cream...even pasta.
"You worry a lot about safety, because even the tiniest amount of egg could kill him," Turoda says.
But in this case the tiniest amount of egg all but cured him.
Dr. Wesley Burks of the University of North Carolina led a multi-center study of oral immunotherapy to treat egg allergies in kids.
All 55 study participants were given either a placebo or a tiny amount of egg white powder.
Neither the doctors nor the patients knew what they were getting.
Those who received the real egg whites got a small amount, then gradually ate more.
After a year, half of the participants could eat a whole egg without complication.
After two years three-quarters could do it.
Dr. Burks stops short of calling this a cure.
"I think what you can say is that they're eating eggs in their diet now, and they're eating them without symptoms," he notes.
Donuts, ice cream, and pasta are all back on the menu for Tad.
More studies are needed but doctors say if all goes well, the treatment could be available to the public within the next five to ten years.
Doctors are using the same technique with other highly allergenic foods, including nuts and milk.