Death from allergy: Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s parents launch clinical trial to find treatment

The parents of a teenager who died from an allergic reaction to a pret-baguette have launched a landmark study with the goal of “making food allergy history”.

Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse initiated the study to investigate whether commonly available peanut and dairy products consumed under medical supervision could be used to treat people with food allergies.

The couple lost their 15-year-old daughter, Natasha, in 2016 after she suffered a severe allergic reaction to sesame seeds in a pret baguette.

Natasha had bought the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from the Pret shop at Heathrow Airport before flying to Nice with her father.

The sandwich did not have an allergen notice on the packaging as it was not required by law as it was made on site.

In October 2021, a new food safety law – known as “Natasha’s Law” – was introduced, mandating full labeling of ingredients and allergens on all food produced on the premises.

The new three-year oral immunotherapy (OIT) study, funded by the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, is being led by the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

They will work with Imperial College London, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Newcastle University and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse in the Portsmouth University labs.

The £2.2million study aims to show that people with food allergies may no longer need to avoid foods with low levels of allergens due to production and can also eat popular foods such as cakes, curries and pizza.

Money for the process has been raised by the foundation, including food companies such as Greggs, Tesco, Just Eat, Co-op, Morrisons, KFC, Sainsbury’s, Costa, Burger King, Pret, Lidl and Leon.

In December 2021, the NHS endorsed Palforzia, a treatment to reduce the severity of reactions to peanuts, including anaphylaxis.

Patients receive a monthly dose, allowing tolerance to be carefully built over time.

If successful, this will enable the NHS to offer affordable treatments to people with food allergies through oral immunotherapy

Nadim Ednan Laperouse

In contrast, the new study will examine whether everyday foods can be used to treat thousands of people with allergies.

The study recruited 216 people aged between three and 23 years with a cow’s milk allergy and six to 23 years with a peanut allergy.

After an initial 12-month desensitization period under strict medical supervision, participants will be followed for a further two years to provide longer-term data.

Mr Ednan-Laperouse said: “This is an important first step in our mission to make food allergy history.

We are determined that Natascha’s death should not be in vain

Tanya Ednan Laperouse

“The aim is to save lives and prevent serious hospitalizations by providing lifelong protection against severe food allergies.

“We are delighted that a consortium of food companies has supported our work with donations that will help fund this study.

“The study aims to fill the current research gap on oral immunotherapy by proving that everyday foods can be used as a convenient treatment for children and young adults with allergies at a fraction of the cost to the NHS.

“If successful, this will enable the NHS to offer affordable treatments to people with food allergies through oral immunotherapy.

“It would allow people, once desensitized under clinical supervision, to take control of their own lives and remain allergy-safe by using store-bought groceries instead of expensive pharmaceutical products.”

Ms Ednan-Laperouse said: “We are determined that Natasha’s death should not be in vain.

“Following the successful implementation of the Natasha Act, which brought new labeling of ingredients and allergens, we are pleased to announce the first clinical study with Natasha.”

Hasan Arshad, Professor of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Southampton, said: “This project provides a unique opportunity to mainstream immunotherapy as a practical treatment that will enable people with food allergies to lead normal lives.”

Co-chief researcher Dr. Paul Turner, Lecturer in Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Imperial College London, said: “This study heralds a new era for the active management of food allergies.

“For too long we’ve been telling people to avoid the foods they’re allergic to.

“This is not a treatment, and food allergy sufferers and their families deserve better.” Death from allergy: Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s parents launch clinical trial to find treatment

Bobby Allyn

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