Our mantra now is “through the skin, allergies begin; through the diet, allergies stay quiet.” Food proteins that enter the body through breaks in the skin — such as if a baby has eczema — can trigger allergies, whereas new foods entering the gut at the right time, when solid foods are introduced, can help the body see them as safe.
Stanford patented a powdered food product that can be mixed with baby food, which exposes babies to a wide variety of food proteins to help prevent allergies. It’s now commercially available and being distributed globally.
3. Your research has focused on using oral immunotherapy to treat food allergies. What are the big milestones in that work?
Nadeau: Oral immunotherapy had been around since the early 1900s. Patients get tiny, gradually escalating amounts of the food protein that triggers their allergy, under a doctor’s supervision. For instance, if you have