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Dr. Kidon spoke in this interview segment regarding a recent immunotherapy product she and her team have been focused on for patients with peanut allergies.
In this segment of her HCPLive interview, Monda Kidon, MD, spoke not only about recent trends in immunotherapy practices but also on a product her research team has been working on for peanut allergy.
Kidon currently serves as the Director of the Sheba Medical CenterPediatric Allergy Clinic and the Food Allergy’s Research Center in Israel.
She began this segment of her discussion with a description of the ways in which immunotherapy products can be incorporated into childrens’ lives.
“So we have to look at ways to try and minimize side effects and continue to have effectiveness,” Kidon said. “So in that respect, what happens to milk and egg is an epiphany, because it's very acceptable, it's quite safe, and it's reasonably effective in getting kids to incorporate those foods into their diet.”
Kidon then added that the issue is that the proteins which are allergenic in plants are very different in their structure and in their ability to be changed to be denatured.
“So the thermal stability of most of these proteins, it's such that just heating them up or making a regular cookie out of them is not good enough to make this safer,” she explained. “In fact, a lot of the work that has been done a lot in the world shows that if you take those peanuts, and you roast them or you heat them extensively, then the reaction will actually ensure that you take those little groups around the carbohydrates that stay on those glycoproteins and then you actually expose more of the epitopes that are allergenic to the immunoglobulins that caused the allergic reactions. So it's not that easy.”
Kidon then noted that researchers, therefore, have to try to develop things that will enable clinicians to still do such procedures safely with plants. Furthermore, she pointed out that the lesson she learned has been to talk to those who actually grow the plants and process the plants themselves.
Kidon said that she went to such an expert to find out how to make peanuts, essentially, behave like milk in this way.
“So if you abrogate the IgE-mediated reaction, because you change the tertiary structure of those proteins, then you enable the learning immune system which are T cells and even B cells, to be exposed to these proteins and actually say ‘Well, maybe we shouldn't be as allergenic maybe we can learn to reform from effector T cells that recognize peanuts to T-regulatory cells that recognize peanuts, and then tell and teach all the other parts of the immune system to become less allergenic with time,’” she explained.
Kidon then explained the process by which she and her team began to develop their peanut product for immunotherapy.
“So what do we do usually is we take the regular foods, so if you think a patient is allergic to milk you take a little bit of milk put in one scan, and prick prick testing is more reliable as a tool of predicting food allergy than the regular test that we allergists use,” she said. “So our peanuts actually have a special brand of peanuts that we use in order to make these cookies and then to make the treatment.”
During this segment of her interview, Kidon went into a description about the ‘Mona Cookie’ product she had worked on, describing some of her research and its relevant data.
“During our treatment, there is absolutely no need to stop your physical activity,” she explained. “There is no requirement not to have a hot tub just after you eat your cookies (for example), because it is dramatically safer.”
Additionally, Kidon noted that the product had other benefits to patients.
“None of our patients have had an allergic reaction requiring adrenaline at home to a dose of the ‘Mona Cookies’ and very few even allergic reactions during the challenges that we did,” she said. “With in-house it's about 100 times more safe like the milk ladder is safer than actually feeding children with allergy the milk that they are allergic to.”
For more about the rest of Kidon’s work, view the full interview segment above. The quotes contained in this description have been edited for the purposes of clarity.
In the past 12 months, Kidon has received the Israeli Chief Scientist's Office grant for the development of the "Mona Peanut" treatment, and has received a patent for the product.