The three-year oral immunotherapy (OIT) trial will be the first major study funded by The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, the charity set up by the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died aged 15 from a severe food allergic reaction.
It aims to show that everyday foods containing peanut or milk, which when taken carefully according to a standardised protocol under medical supervision, can be used as an alternative to expensive pharmaceutical drugs to desensitise patients.
If successful, participants with persistent food allergies will be able to live lives where they no longer have to avoid popular foods which might contain small amounts of allergens due to factory production lines or cross contact, and they'll also be able to eat popular foods like cakes, curries and pizza safely with their friends.
The £2.2m trial will be funded by a gift to the University of Southampton from The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation. Natasha's Foundation has received generous donations and funding from its Research Founding Partners. Fundraising and donations have also been received from Natasha’s army of supporters.
The Research Founding Partners are a consortium of food businesses: Greggs, Tesco, Just Eat, Co-op Morrisons, KFC, Bakkavor, Sainsbury’s, Bidfood, Costa Coffee, Elior UK, Burger King UK, Pret A Manger, Lidl, Leon, Cooplands and Uber Eats.
Tanya Ednan-Laperouse said:
“We have been determined that Natasha’s death should not be in vain. Following the successful implementation of Natasha’s Law, which has brought new ingredient and allergen labelling, we are delighted to announce the first Natasha Clinical Trial.”
Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said:
“This is a major first step in our mission to make food allergies history. We are delighted a consortium of food businesses are supporting our work with donations that will help fund this study.”
Dr Paul Turner, reader in paediatric allergy and clinical immunology at Imperial College London, added:
“This study heralds a new era for the active treatment of food allergy. For too long, we have told people just to avoid the food they are allergic to – that is not a treatment, and food-allergic people and their families deserve better.”
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