Etokimab is an antibody that inhibits IL-33. IL-33 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that is a central mediator of allergy diseases (i.e. food allergies). By blocking IL-33, etokimab prevents the downstream inflammation that occurs with allergy diseases.
Etokimab is currently being studied for the treatment of atopic dermatitis and asthma by the pharmaceutical company AnaptysBio.
The results of the trial for eczema and asthma have been disappointing to date, but a recent small study explored Etokimab’s role in the treatment of food allergy, in this case peanut allergy. A study was done with participants who had peanut allergy and they received an injection of Etokimab. Nearly 3/4 of participants who received the injection were able to eat a modest amount of peanut 2 weeks after the shot. Zero of the patients who received a placebo were able to eat peanut. Since Etokimab doesn’t particularly treat peanut specifically but overall allergies, there is a potential it could treat any food allergies such as tree nuts and shellfish.
This was a very small study and more studies need to be done. It still has not been determined at what frequency Etokimab would need to be given to protect against food allergies although researchers have been looking at a monthly treatment. This most likely would be more used for accidental exposures and not for patients looking to eat a particular food allergen ad lib.
Approximately 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies and there are approximately 200,000 ER visits a year for this issue. There are a multitude of other treatments that are being investigated for peanut allergy. There is the oral immunotherapy, Palforzia, a peanut patch is also being developed too.
Prevention is the most important key to avoid peanut allergy, current guidelines support the early introduction of peanuts in babies.