A clinical study commissioned by the Food Standards Agency will identify, for the first time, how sensitivity to peanut is altered by external factors including exercise and stress.
The three-year TRACE study will be led by Dr Andrew Clark, allergy consultant at Addenbrooke’s, which is part of Cambridge University Hospitals.
Dr Clark, and his colleagues Dr Robert Boyle and Professor Steven Durham from Imperial College, Dr Isabel Skypala from Royal Brompton Hospital, and Professor Clare Mills from the University of Manchester, are looking for people with a peanut allergy to participate in the study for a year.
The researchers will invite about 100 peanut-allergic people from a cross-section of the population. These individuals will undergo ‘challenges’ under varying conditions to find out how sensitivity to peanut is altered by external factors, including exercise and stress (which in this study will be caused by sleep deprivation).
According to Dr Clark, this study is the first of its kind globally. ‘It will not only bring reassurance to the thousands of people who are allergic to peanuts but offers a blueprint for improving food labelling for a whole variety of food,’ he said.
Food Standards Agency head of food allergens Sue Hattersley added: ‘This important study will inform food allergen labelling and improve advice to consumers to help them better manage their allergy.’
The Anaphylaxis Campaign will also be involved in the study. Its CEO, Lynne Regent, said: ‘Labelling about allergen cross contamination risks is a major concern for anyone living with severe food allergy. The study will help to inform the food industry and have a positive impact upon the lives of food allergic individuals.’
How to register
Men and women aged 18-45, with a peanut allergy, are eligible to register. Participants will receive up to £800 for attending eight sessions at one of the two sites for the study: Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge or the Royal Brompton in London.
You can find out more information, including how to register, by clicking here
The final results of the study will be published in the summer of 2016.