Every three minutes in the United States, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. If you've got a child with a food allergy, you could probably use some good news right about now. How's this for good news? A 10-year-old boy with a severe peanut allergy was just cured ... with a bone marrow transplant!
If it sounds like an odd course of treatment for an allergy, that's because it wasn't. The 10-year-old had leukemia, and a marrow transplant is a common treatment for this form cancer. But the unexpected side effect gives hope for parents of the 1 in every 13 kids under 18 who have a food allergy.
Imagine if it could be cured?
No more worrying about every single thing they put in their mouth?
The doctor who presented this little boy's miracle case at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology last week says this is extremely rare but not completely unheard of -- two kids in Europe saw allergies cured from similar transplants. So that's three kids, not exactly enough evidence that this is the fix for every severe case of peanut allergies. Not to mention, bone marrow transplants are risky, that is if you can even find a bone marrow match to begin with.
Doctors do not want parents pounding on their doors tomorrow demanding a bone marrow transplant for their kids.
And yet, if it works, if they can prove this is a real fix for peanut allergies, would it be worth it for parents to explore the option?
True, there are risks such as infection or anemia with a bone marrow transplant that can't be ignored.
But if a peanut allergy is severe, the risk is DEATH, and as of right now, there is no cure. Some allergies kids will grow out of, but peanut allergies tend to stay with you for life. That means a lifetime of worry and danger at every turn for the folks who have the more severe allergies (admittedly much fewer than that 1 in 13 number).
Bone marrow transplants may not be the answer, but as scientists delve more deeply into why this one managed to cure a 10-year-old of his cancer and his allergy both, it might behoove parents to start thinking about what risks they would take to have a child's allergy cured. If the allergy is severe enough for death to be a possibility, maybe a risky procedure would be worth it.
How far would you go to get your child's allergy cured? Would you sign them up for a risky procedure if it could mean life without allergies?
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