HomeResearch – February 2023

Research – February 2023

February 3, 2023

Read the latest research on peanut oral immunotherapy and learn about the future possibilities for this treatment. Plus, check out our latest mythbuster on dark chocolate and milk.

Research: Making progress in oral immunotherapy (OIT) for peanut allergy

Food allergy is caused by IgE antibodies that are generated by the immune system and bind to allergens such as peanuts, triggering a reaction. New research provides insight into why oral immunotherapy (OIT), which treats food allergy through incremental increases in consumption of the allergen, works for some but not everyone. Researchers discovered that people who have protective neutralizing antibodies developed sustained tolerance to the allergen, in this case, peanut.


In patients with sustained tolerance after peanut OIT, neutralizing antibodies block specific regions of the peanut allergen, which prevents the binding of other antibodies that trigger allergic reactions. “This provides a new path for both therapeutic and diagnostic test development. As a therapeutic, neutralizing antibodies may be able to provide clinical protection. From a diagnostic perspective, we may be able to predict about future tolerance development based on the presence or absence of these antibodies in patients,” says senior author Sarita U. Patil, MD, an assistant in Medicine at Mass General and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

Read these press releases to learn more from NIH and Mass General. These findings may help researchers improve allergy treatments and diagnosis, so that all patients can benefit. This is exciting news, and we will continue to keep you informed of the latest developments in food allergy therapies.

If you are considering OIT, check out our helpful resources below.

Dr. Julia UptonWatch: The truth behind immunotherapy webinar with Dr. Julia Upton

Mythbuster: Is dark chocolate safe for someone with a milk allergy?

Pieces and chopped chocolate on white background

FACT: No, not necessarily. While pure dark chocolate is supposed to be made without milk or milk products, not all dark chocolate is considered pure or produced in the same way.

Plus, dark chocolate may be produced in the same facility or on the same equipment that makes milk chocolate, and cross-contamination can occur. Always read the list of ingredients and any “may contain” statements for milk on all dark chocolate products you’re thinking about buying. Additionally, contact the manufacturer with any questions you may have about how products have been made.

Note for those consumers allergic to milk and considering vegan options: Pure dark chocolate may be appropriate for vegans, as by definition it’s supposed to be made without milk/milk products. However, not all dark chocolate products may be safe options for those with a milk allergy, and may be labelled with a ‘May contain milk’ statement. Remember to read the list of ingredients and “may contain” statements and contact the manufacturer with any questions.