DENVER (CBS4)– There is hope that the millions of people with multiple food allergies may eventually be able to tolerate some of those foods. A clinical trial is underway at National Jewish Health to see if eating small, gradually increasing amounts of three of those allergens, along with a medication, can prevent a severe reaction.
A teenager from Highlands Ranch is hoping the answer is “yes.”
Jeremiah takes his shots in stride. He has been getting three injections every two weeks since June.
The medication is Xolair, a drug used to treat asthma. The hope is it will help Jeremiah’s immune system tolerate some of the foods that are allergic triggers.
“I don’t know life really any other way,” Jeremiah told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Jeremiah was just three months old when he was given a milk-based formula.
“I had a reaction, threw up until I was limp,” he explained.
It turns out, he is allergic to milk and at least 6 other foods and had to learn to be careful about what he eats.
“I’ve been so used to checking and knowing what I’m eating,” Jeremiah said, “If I can’t have it, I can’t have it.”
Now, just shy of 17, Jeremiah is hoping for the chance to consume at least three of those foods without fear.
He’s enrolled in a nationwide study. Taking Xolair to block the allergic response is part of it.
Then, Jeremiah will begin oral immunotherapy, consuming gradually increasing amounts of peanut, egg and walnut in powder form to desensitize him to the allergens.
“That we can get this food into the diet in some form, in some amount,” said Dr. Bruce J. Lanser, pediatric allergist leading the nationwide study at National Jewish Health.
“I’d still stop short of calling it a cure, unfortunately,” said Lanser.
But if it is successful, Jeremiah said, “It would be almost weird. I can really just eat that? I don’t have to worry about this anymore?”
Weird, perhaps, but a welcome change.