Trail-blazing peanut allergy clinic launches at Norfolk hospital

Dr John Chapman (right) and paediatric nurse practitioner Clive Ellis of the James Paget, with packs of the PALFORZIA drug

Dr John Chapman (right) and paediatric nurse practitioner Clive Ellis of the James Paget, with packs of the PALFORZIA drug - Credit: James Paget

A Norfolk hospital has become the first in the country to begin a life-changing clinic on peanut allergies.

The James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston is currently the only hospital in the United Kingdom where a revolutionary new treatment for the condition is on offer.

The ground-breaking clinic in the long-run has the goal of ending the days of people with peanut allergies having to carry emergency medication such as EpiPens in case they accidentally ingest peanut protiens.

To begin with, the clinic at the Paget will see a dozen children treated with a newly-approved drug called PALFORZIA to treat their allergies over the next year.

The new medication has been approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellent (NICE) following five years of extensive research into the allergies, which affect more than six million people in Europe and America alone.

The Paget played a key role in this research trial, which saw 175 children aged between four and 17 take part in experiments using the new medication.

It took place over the course of 40 weeks and saw some of the test subjects administered placebos.

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Differing from existing allergy treatments, the new medication is a form of 'oral immunotherapy' - which gradually exposes a person's immune system to the allergen to desensitise them to it.

Following the successful trial, NICE gave the green light for PALFORZIA to be used in the wider health system.

And the hospital's involvement in the trial has meant it was at the very front of the queue to use it in clinics.

Dr John Chapman, consultant paediatrician at the James Paget, said: “Approval of use of PALFORZIA is a big step forward for people with peanut allergies.

"Having this treatment in place as an option is a vital part of supporting people with peanut allergies, many of whom are very young when this allergy is discovered.”

“We are proud that the Trust is the first in the country to offer this treatment – with special thanks to the young patients and their families that took part in the ARTEMIS trial to get us to this point.”