Dr William FranklandA leading allergy consultant offered hope to parents of children with a severe peanut allergy by confirming that his landmark study into peanut allergy will be rolled out into other allergy clinics nationwide ‘in around three years time’.

Dr Andrew Clark, paediatric allergy consultant at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge told JFHC editor Penny Hosie that the study intake will be groups of children aged seven to 16 and that King’s College Hospital in London will be one of the allergy clinics where the trial extension is expected.

Dr Clark spoke at last night’s 20 year celebration of the Anaphylaxis Campaign at the Governor’s Hall, St Thomas’s Hospital in London. 

Dr Clark and his research partner Dr Pamela Ewan garnered press attention earlier this year when promising results of their Cambridge University Hospital trial indicated that ingesting small amounts of peanut under controlled hospital environment conditions had yielded some encouraging results. In the trial 84 per cent of children in the first group and 91 per cent in the second had become desensitised within six months and could eat the equivalent of five peanuts without any problems.

Professor John Warner,Consultant paediatric allergy and chest physician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Professor of paediatrics at Imperial College London also attended last night’s celebration and praised the role of the Anaphylaxis Campaign in helping to raise the profile of allergy services and their lobbying work. The charity has recently successfully lobbied for every patient at risk of anaphylaxis to be prescribed two adrenalin pens, not just one. 

Professor Warner conceded that there was still ‘much more work to be done’ and especially in the arena of patient care and communciation. He cited a study which accorded high levels of patient satisfaction who attend specialist allergy clinics but he said there was great dissatisfaction expressed at the perceived level of ‘poor communication’ filtering down to both GPs and in schools. There is a distinct need for improvement here, he said.

Founder member David Reading, whose daughter Sarah’s death from a peanut allergy inspired the set up of the Anaphylaxis Campaign spoke movingly of how it grew from being a small grass roots organisation hosted in people’s homes and around kitchen tables to the professional organisation it is today. His wife Sylvia (Sarah’s step mother) said that when Sarah first passed away the medical profession cited her death as being the result of an asthma attack. However parental persistence allied with the support of a consultant influenced the change of view. 

Also attending the celebration was Dr William Frankland (see left), President of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, who told the hall that his anaphylaxis research led to self experimentation which resulted in an attack so strong it required three adrenalin pens! Dr Frankland bought the pollen count to public attention and was assistant to Alexander Fleming (who famously discovered penicillin). Dr. Frankland has also made a significant contribution to a number of organisations which have raised the profile of allergy and spearheaded research into new treatments.

At 102, he is living proof that anaphylaxis shouldn’t prevent you from living a long and happy life!

For more information on the work of the Anaphylaxis Campaign and for information specific to health professionals visit www.anaphylaxis.org.uk