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Gut bacteria in non allergenic infants may prevent – and reverse – food allergies

Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are approaching 40%-50%. As published in Nature Medicine,researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital have identified the species of bacteria that protects against food allergies.

Five or six species of Clostridiales or Bacteroidetes bacteria were used in this study. Infants missing these vital microbes from their gut bacteria are far more vulnerable to developing a food allergy that can affect them for the rest of their lives. Research in mice shows these microbes not only protect against pre-existing food allergies, but also reverses them, effectively resetting the subject’s immune system.

These bacteria have been found in the human infant gut, and in a preclinical study, researchers discovered that introducing a bacteria-enriched oral formulation resulted in overall protection against food allergies and reversal of established disease by reinforcing tolerance of food allergens. Clostridiales and Bacteroidets were found to target two key immunological pathways, stimulating specific regulatory T-cells and changing their profile. This promoted a more tolerant response to allergens, as opposed to an allergic response.

Bry and Gerber, along with Talal Chatila, MD of Boston Children’s Hospital, founded Consortia TX, which is now preparing for Phase 1b trials in pediatric food allergies, followed by expanded trials with additional allergies.

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