NEWS RELEASES

11/18/04 News Release

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STANFORD STUDY SEEKS VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS

STANFORD, Calif. – Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine are seeking volunteers for a study of a peanut allergy treatment. The study will look at whether Xolair, a product already approved to treat asthma in patients older than age 12, will also help patients tolerate greater levels of peanut exposure without having an allergic reaction.

Currently, avoiding peanuts and peanut products is the only option for people whose systemic response to very small quantities of peanuts can be severe or even deadly.

“Peanut allergy is a serious, life-threatening allergy that puts a great deal of fear into people,” said Richard Moss, MD, professor of pediatrics at the school and chief of pediatric pulmonary medicine at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. “It’s often persistent over a longer period of time, and there’s no treatment. This study offers some hope.”

Here’s how Xolair might help: The blood of people with peanut allergies contains high levels of an antibody known as IgE. This antibody responds to peanut protein and triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause the swelling of the skin, gastrointestinal tract and the airways. Xolair is an anti-antibody that reduces the level of IgE in the blood, which might increase the amount of peanut the patient can tolerate.

A study last year found that a drug similar to Xolair significantly increased 84 patients’ tolerance from about half a peanut to almost nine peanuts.

In the current study, patients between ages 6 and 75 with a diagnosis of peanut allergy will be tested to determine how much peanut they can tolerate before and after treatment with Xolair or placebo. Small amounts of peanuts will be given orally with close monitoring in a safe setting. Any allergic reaction that develops will be treated immediately.

Genentech, the company that makes Xolair, funds the research. The study will enroll about 150 patients at 20 sites in North America and Europe. For information, please contact Lisa Hoyte at (650) 723-5227 or e-mail ehoyte@stanford.edu.

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The Stanford University School of Medicine consistently ranks among the nation's top 10 medical schools, integrating research, medical education, patient care and community service. For more news about the school, please visit http://mednews.stanford.edu. The medical school is part of Stanford Medicine, which includes Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. For information about all three, please visit http://stanfordmedicine.org/about/news.html.

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