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Boiled tree nut for oral immunotherapy in food-allergic children (BOLT)

Boiled tree nut for oral immunotherapy in food-allergic children

Target: Cashew-allergic children aged 3-17 years


As the global incidence of food allergies steadily increases, tree nuts have become one of the main causes of food allergies and anaphylaxis.


Tree nut allergy often presents early in life and persists life-long, of which one in ten of them will develop life-threatening allergic reactions. Allergic reactions that may occur with accidental exposure to tree nut is common and the quality of life of tree nut-allergic patients and families are impacted by this life-long, debilitating condition which has no effective treatment at the moment.  


Recently, researchers have reported success in desensitizing food-allergic patients with oral immunotherapy (OIT), using peanut allergy as the prototype. In a proportion of individuals receiving OIT, sustained unresponsiveness, i.e., long-term tolerance, can be achieved at the end of the study treatment and up until 4 years after treatment.  


CUHK Paediatrics is now conducting a clinical trial study of "Boiled Tree Nut for Oral Immunotherapy in Food-Allergic Children". Tree nut oral immunotherapy is a treatment where a person who is allergic to tree nut (cashew) is asked to eat cashew products, starting at very low doses then increasing to a higher maintenance dose and continuing on the maintenance dose for a certain period of time.  


The participants may:
✓  Have the opportunity of outgrowing cashew allergy
✓  Have a reduced risk of life-threatening reactions to cashew
✓  Benefit other children with cashew allergy
✓  improve the quality of life for people with cashew allergy

Participants need to attend to Prince of Wales Hospital (Sha Tin) for the following cashew allergy tests:

  • Allergy questionnaire

  • Skin prick test

  • Blood sampling (around 10ml)

  • Stool sampling (once)

  • Oral food challenges for 2-3 days

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