Children smiling for camera

A new trial will explore whether a promising immunotherapy treatment can reduce the symptoms of peanut allergies in children. Peanuts are currently the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children with food allergies

The Aravax AVX-201 Study, now entering Phase 2 and led by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, aims to determine if monthly doses of the therapy – PVX108 – over 12 months can lead to sustained tolerance of peanut in those aged four to 17 years old.  

The PVX108 treatment was developed in Melbourne, Australia and is designed to retrain the immune system to tolerate peanut allergens. The injections do not contain peanut proteins, which may put patients at risk of serious side effects.  

The study is backed by Aravax – a clinical-stage biotechnology company headquartered in Melbourne, which focuses on revolutionising the treatment of food allergies with next-generation specific immunotherapies that are safe, effective and convenient. 

Regional principle investigator Associate Professor Kirsten Perrett, Population Allergy Group Leader at Murdoch Children’s and Director of the National Allergy Centre of Excellence, said the prevalence of food allergy – particularly peanut allergies – among infants and children was concerning. 

“Our research has shown one in 10 infants in Australia are diagnosed with a food allergy, while almost three per cent of children are allergic to peanuts. Determining whether this is a successful peanut allergy therapy could have a global impact and transform the lives of many people,” she said. 

Most allergic reactions to peanuts are mild, like swelling of the lips or hives, but severe reactions can present very suddenly without warning. The risk of experiencing a life-threatening reaction without warning has a great impact on the lives of those with peanut allergies and for parents and caregivers of children with the allergy. 

In Phase 1 Aravax trials, researchers observed PVX108 produced changes in the immune response to peanut protein, which continued to develop once dosing had completed. The Phase 2 trial will investigate whether those early immunological changes translate to the development of sustained tolerance to peanuts. 

Dr Pascal Hickey, Aravax CEO, said: “We’re excited to start Phase 2 trials of PVX108 in Australia. Using peanut food challenges before and after treatment, this trial will evaluate the efficacy of PVX108 when given as monthly doses over 12 months.” 

Allergy clinical trial centres at Murdoch Children’s, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, Children's Hospital at Westmead and Perth Children's Hospital are seeking participants with a peanut allergy to take part in the study. 

To find out more, visit the Aravax AVX-201 Study.

** This article originally appeared on the National Allergy Centre of Excellence.