Hope for nut allergy sufferers as British boy, 12, can now EAT seven after life-changing NHS trial


An NHS allergy trial has been so successful a British boy, 12, who had to completely avoid traces of peanuts or die can now eat seven – offering hope the treatment will be available for other sufferers within two years.

James Redman, from Heathfield in East Sussex, was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at the age of three – when he ate half a teaspoon of a sauce containing three per cent of the ingredient.

He was rushed to hospital in anaphylactic shock and doctors told his mother Zoe her then-toddler would have to completely avoid peanuts or risk dying the next time he came into contact with them.

Three years ago Mrs Redman managed to get her son onto the ARTEMIS trial – one of the largest peanut allergy trials ever conducted.

Since then he has tried a peanut M&M for the first time and drastically built up his tolerance.

James Redman (pictured, right, with his mother Zoe and three brothers), from Heathfield in East Sussex, was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at the age of three – when he ate half a teaspoon of a sauce containing three per cent of the ingredient

Three years ago Mrs Redman managed to get her son onto the ARTEMIS trial - one of the largest peanut allergy trials ever conducted

Since then he has managed to try a peanut M&M for the first time and drastically built up his tolerance

Three years ago Mrs Redman managed to get her son onto the ARTEMIS trial – one of the largest peanut allergy trials ever conducted. Since then he has managed to try a peanut M&M for the first time and drastically built up his tolerance

The trial involved being given increasing amounts of peanut protein, for two and half years. 

Mrs Redman told MailOnline: ‘The day we got the phone call to be on the trial we felt like we’d won the lottery. 

‘There is no other alternative. There’s no cure and this is the best chance we’ve got. 

‘In January we will have been in trial for three years. We are building up evidence to prove it’s save and hoping it’ll be available to others in two years’ time.’

By the end of the trial James was able to tolerate the equivalent of seven peanuts, meaning he is less likely to suffer a severe reaction in the future.

But Mrs Redman said she would still be keeping her son away from them.

By the end of the trial James was able to tolerate the equivalent of seven peanuts, meaning he is less likely to suffer a severe reaction in the future

By the end of the trial James was able to tolerate the equivalent of seven peanuts, meaning he is less likely to suffer a severe reaction in the future

‘I’m still always on guard. He carries two EpiPens wherever he goes. His school also have two pens. We still check every label,’ she said.

‘It just gives us more peace of mind should he react. We may not even need his EpiPen.

‘He’s been desensitised so his body has become accustomed to it, but he’d still have to avoid peanuts at all costs because there’s the underlying risk. 

‘If he had accidental exposure the chances are he wouldn’t have such a severe reaction.’

Peanut allergy, a potentially life-threatening condition, has doubled over the last two decades and affects about 1 in 50 children in the UK.

The allergy is rarely outgrown and is the most common cause of food allergy deaths.

Peanut allergy, a potentially life-threatening condition, has doubled over the last two decades and affects about 1 in 50 children in the UK. Pictured, James

Peanut allergy, a potentially life-threatening condition, has doubled over the last two decades and affects about 1 in 50 children in the UK. Pictured, James

The ARTEMIS study recruited nearly 200 children and young people aged four to 17 from across Europe. Evelina London Children’s Hospital recruited the most patients to the study.

Mrs Redman had to made the four-hour round trip to the London hospital from their Sussex home every fortnight. 

Participants either received peanut allergen protein (AR101) or a placebo powder and doses were gradually increased every two weeks for a year.

The results, which were recently published in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, found that more than half of the participants (58 per cent) treated with the peanut protein could tolerate at least three to four peanuts compared to just two per cent of participants on the placebo.

Professor George du Toit, paediatric allergy consultant at Evelina London and the study’s chief investigator, said: ‘This study provides yet more evidence that by gradually ingesting small amounts of well-characterised peanut protein, allergy sufferers can increase their tolerance and protect themselves from severe reactions in the event of accidental exposure.

The ARTEMIS study recruited nearly 200 children and young people aged four to 17 from across Europe. Evelina London Children's Hospital recruited the most patients to the study

The ARTEMIS study recruited nearly 200 children and young people aged four to 17 from across Europe. Evelina London Children’s Hospital recruited the most patients to the study

‘It means we are now a step closer to an effective peanut allergy treatment and gives hope to the peanut allergy sufferers. 

‘The study is also the first to show that this type of treatment can massively improve quality of life for families affected by peanut allergy.

‘Peanut allergy can be very difficult to manage, especially for children and young people, and many families are extremely concerned about having a severe reaction, which can be life-threatening.

‘It’s great that the study had such a good outcome for James and was life-changing for many of our families. 

‘However, it should not be done without medical supervision, as a small number of children did have a reaction to the peanut protein and required medical treatment.’

James has described the study as ‘the greatest opportunity of my life’, adding that he had ‘great fun’ with the nurses and doctors.

James has described the study as 'the greatest opportunity of my life', adding that he had 'great fun' with the nurses and doctors

James has described the study as ‘the greatest opportunity of my life’, adding that he had ‘great fun’ with the nurses and doctors

He said: ‘I didn’t mind the taste of the peanut protein as I got to mix it with chocolate pudding which was great. I really hope the study leads to a treatment so that other children with a peanut allergy can benefit.’

Mrs Redman said the staff played Nintendo Kart racing with James during his visits.

She added: ‘We’ve had to keep a daily diary for the whole study and we had to go initially up to London every other week so it was a big commitment. 

‘We’ve got three other sons and two dogs and two school runs so it was a lot. 

‘But he’s enjoyed it. He’s kept a little diary, he got stickers and a passport book. We’ve got almost 30 entries and he’s collected the red armbands he got during each visit. Red stands for allergy.’

She said the family knew he wasn’t on the placebo early on in the trial because of the intense reactions to even small amounts of peanut.

Mrs Redman said the staff played Nintendo Kart racing with James during his visits. She added: 'We've had to keep a daily diary for the whole study and we had to go initially up to London every other week so it was a big commitment'

Mrs Redman said the staff played Nintendo Kart racing with James during his visits. She added: ‘We’ve had to keep a daily diary for the whole study and we had to go initially up to London every other week so it was a big commitment’

‘They would take all his stats, height, weight, measure his lung capacity. He would be given skin pick tests routinely to measure the size of the hive that came up on his arm. 

‘We could see it was working because each time it was repeated the hive got dramatically smaller. 

‘There’s a massive difference between where we started and are now. Every session the amount of peanut increased, half a milligram and up to seven peanuts. We had to start very small.

‘He did have minor reactions in hospital sometimes because part of the study was to see how much peanut they could tolerate.

‘ They were pushed to their boundaries and constantly monitored looking for rashes or breathing difficulty. 

‘There were doctors looking to see he was okay. He had an itchy throat, sickness and wheezing at times. 

‘But we knew that was what we were going into.’ 

She revealed one of James’ former classmates died from a peanut allergy after his family moved to rural Spain.

‘A child at James’ old primary schools lost his life from it. They moved to rural Spain and he bought a cookie from a bakery and sadly died.’ 

The ARTEMIS study was funded by Aimmune Therapeutics, which manufactures the peanut protein treatment used during the trial.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk