*Above video is a previous story about positive peanut news for parents*

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland Clinic researchers say they’ve confirmed a breakthrough that can help babies improve their immune response to foods that contain peanuts.

Through research in its Food and Allergy Center, the children developed a tolerance for the food by eating tiny amounts of them in a step-by-step, controlled process, according to a Cleveland Clinic medical team.

Doctors said they found starting peanut oral immunotherapy under medical supervision during infancy can improve a child’s immune response to the food over time. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology In Practice. 

“We’ve seen how peanut oral immunotherapy is well-tolerated in toddlers, but there was limited real-world evidence available to demonstrate the benefits in babies,” said Dr. Sandra Hong.

Researchers said they reviewed data from 22 infants from 7 to 11 months old who received peanut oral immunotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic.

Through an allergist making a plan along with the parent, children were started on a daily dose of 18 milligrams (about twice the weight of a grain of table salt) of peanut protein in the form of peanut butter or peanut powder. Over six months, they were slowly given larger servings to consume every day until they reached a maintenance dose of 500 milligrams or the equivalence of two peanut kernels, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers said that more than half of the babies experienced mild allergic reactions which resolved on their own, many others experienced no allergic reactions and one baby needed epinephrine.

“Safety is paramount. Each time babies were exposed to a larger amount of peanut protein, it was done under the careful supervision of an allergist,” said Dr. Hong. “They were monitored for an hour in our office after the higher dose was given.”

After completing peanut oral immunotherapy, 14 of the 22 babies received an allergy test to check their levels of peanut specific antibodies. The results indicated that all 14 babies had a reduced sensitivity to peanuts.  

Eleven of those babies participated in an oral food challenge where they were fed increasing doses of peanut protein up to 2,000 milligrams or about nine peanuts. After completing the challenge, 91% of them could tolerate peanuts without triggering any allergic reactions, Hong said.

“This study signals that age is a crucial factor to the success of this treatment,” said Dr. Sarah Johnson. “An infant’s immune system is more adaptable, allowing them to develop tolerance to peanuts with less severe reactions and fewer side effects than older children.”

While peanut oral immunotherapy holds promise in helping young children overcome peanut allergies, the treatment should always be done under the care of a trained allergist, doctors urged.

 “At the end of the day, we want families to be safe,” said Hong. “This is not something you try on your own because of the significant risk of triggering allergic reactions. When you have an allergist supervise the process, you are ensuring that any reactions your child experiences are quickly identified and treated.”