Groundbreaking study in Arkansas could change lives of children allergic to peanuts

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas Children’s Research Institute is constantly conducting groundbreaking research, changing children's lives not only in Arkansas, but across the globe.

Currently, researchers at ACH are working on treating a common food allergy, one that could mean life or death for children that have it.

When 4-year-old Daniel Fulkerson was 14 months old, he was rushed to the hospital after having a severe allergic reaction to a spoonful of peanut butter.

“He instantly began having trouble breathing. His lips swelled up and he obviously was in a lot of pain,” said Steven Fulkerson, Daniel’s father. 

Six months after being diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy, Daniel was enrolled in a clinical study at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute.

The hospital is one of five clinical sites in the country conducting the IMPACT Study, which introduces small amounts of food allergens to children, in this case, peanut butter over a period of time.

“The thought process is that while they are young their immune system is still developing, and so by having exposure to small amounts, that perhaps it can reprogram the immune system,” said Fulkerson.

According to Gregory Kearns, President of Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, this isn’t the only groundbreaking research the hospital is working on to treat food allergies.

“We are starting some work on another type of patch, a film that has been produced that has the drug, epinephrine in it. A colleague of ours from Tennessee has figured out how to put it in a patch that is stuck right on the inside of a cheek,” said Kearns. “We have to do the testing, we have to develop it all the way and make sure it works, but much of it will be done right here at Arkansas Children’s.”

Daniel's study concludes in November of 2018.

If unsuccessful, he'll be eligible for the patch that Arkansas Children’s is in the works of developing. 

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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