INDIANAPOLIS–  A team of Indiana researchers may have found a way to prevent deadly allergic reactions to peanuts.

The Indiana University School of Medicine said the researchers found a way to block anaphylaxis caused by peanut allergies. The idea is to give people a medicine that can block their antibodies from even recognizing peanuts.

“The inhibitor prevented allergic reactions for more than two weeks when given before allergen exposure,” said Nada Alakhras, lead author and a graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “The inhibitor also prevented fatal anaphylaxis and attenuated allergic reactions when given soon after the onset of symptoms.”

The work is being done by a joint team from IU and Notre Fame. The researchers say the findings could be life-changing.

“For those people, it’s not only the danger of that but the impact on the quality of life of having to try and avoid those things, which can be very difficult at times,” said Mark Kaplan, PhD, chair of the Department Of Microbiology And Immunology At IU.

The team hopes to start human trials within the next few years. Researchers are continuing further research in animal models to evaluate efficacy and toxicity before moving on to clinical trials.

Kaplan says if this drug is approved his team can start looking into treating other allergies or even treating a broad range of immune diseases.