(CBS/CNN) – New research bodes well for young people with peanut allergies. Doctors exposed people with peanut allergies to small doses of peanut powder over a period of months, with promising results.

More than 500 people, most of whom were under the age of 17, took part in the study, which is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the end, two-thirds of the kids were able to eat the equivalent of two peanuts without any symptoms. Half were able to consume 3-4 peanuts in a single sitting. There was also widespread reduction in the number and severity of allergic reactions.

The results prove the treatment can protect some children against accidental exposure to, or ingestion of, a very small amount of peanuts. It is still in clinical stages, and not approved by the FDA.

The lead author of the research stresses this is not a cure, but says it does seem to be a step in the right direction.

“Peanut allergy demands lifelong vigilance to avoid accidental exposures, and the unpredictable severity of reactions that do occur can take a toll on children and families,” Dr. A. Wesley Burks of University of North Carolina School of Medicine said. The researchers hope the treatment can eventually, “make a meaningful, beneficial impact on people’s daily lives.”

It is estimated that 1 in 10 children in the United States has a peanut allergy. There is currently no approved treatment, other than strict avoidance.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)


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