NEW YORK (CBS) An FDA advisory panel Friday gave the green light for the first treatment for food allergies.
Stella Chukwulozie has a severe peanut allergy something that's always on the 16-year-old's mind. "This is my epi-pen," she said. "It's really important that I don't forget it anywhere.
Her mom, Jean Polsky, says they stay vigilant so she doesn't have a life threatening reaction. "I remember after she was diagnosed feeling like my whole reality had shifted," she said.
Three years ago, doctors told the family about a study testing a new oral immunotherapy treatment called AR-101.
"Up until now we have had no treatments available for food allergy at all," said Dr. Julie Wang with the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai. She says patients are exposed to small, escalating doses of peanut protein, with the goal of desensitizing them. "That threshold increases such that same low dose would then not trigger an allergic reaction or at least would minimize the severity of an allergic reaction
Research shows about 67 percent of children and teens treated with AR101 were able to tolerate the equivalent of about two peanuts but 20 percent discontinued treatment, including 10 percent, because of adverse events such as side effect or reactions.
"Allergic reactions are possible, which is why oral immunotherapy needs to be done under close medical supervision," Wang said.
Chukwulozie had some minor reactions during treatment, and with continued therapy she's able to tolerate some exposure to peanuts.
Reporter Tom Hanson: Are you glad you took part in this study?
Stella Chukwulozie: I'm 100 percent glad I took part in it. I say this from the heart -- it's completely changed my life.
she says the treatment allows her to live her life with less fear.