More than 80% of children who were given omalizumab with oral immunotherapy (OIT) for 36 weeks could safely consume portions of at least 2 foods they were causing an allergic reaction, according to findings from a phase 2 study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Omalizumab, an injectable antibody drug approved for moderate-to-severe allergic asthma, blocks the activity of IgE.
Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in California enrolled 48 children aged 4 years to 15 years with confirmed allergy to multiple foods, such as milk, egg, wheat, soy, sesame seeds, peanuts, and tree nuts. The children received omalizumab or placebo injections for the first 16 weeks. At week 8, all participants began eating small, gradually increasing amounts of an allergenic food. They continued OIT until week 36, when they underwent an oral food challenge.
Of the 36 children who received omalizumab, 30 were able to eat at least 2 grams of ≥ 2 allergenic foods, compared with that of only 4 of 12 children (33%) who received placebo. Children who received omalizumab also had fewer adverse events from OIT