Revolutionary treatment reverses dangerous food allergies

Texas Children's Hospital conducts oral immunotherapy, a six-month process

HOUSTON – When it’s time for lunch, the choices for 11-year-old Tristan Allbritton are limitless now. Instead of killing him, a peanut butter and honey sandwich would now be a good choice.

"I can have the candies I like," Tristan said. "I can freely eat what I want, and I can know I’m safe and I’m not going to have a reaction."

Tristan is undergoing oral immunotherapy, a six-month weekly process that forces his body to develop what it needs to fight off allergic reactions.

The National Institutes of Health just issued guidelines for it, and Texas Children's Hospital is conducting a clinical trial to expedite the treatment, in hopes of it one day being widely available.

The necessity to avoid a peanut butter sandwich or read the labels on food products was just a small part of the problem. Tristan’s family was deeply affected.

"We were deathly afraid we were going to get that phone call in the middle of the night, saying, 'I don't know what's going on with your son. He's not breathing,'" said Brian Albritton, Tristan’s father.

Tristan was limited when traveling. He wasn’t able to go to sleepovers or even on unaccompanied bike rides.

"Once we were done, it was just like, gosh," said Katie Albritton, Tristan’s mother. "It was like we had just won the lottery -- seriously."