Peanuts are one of the most common and often most severe food allergies, but a new study offers hope that a new drug can help people better tolerate exposure to the legume.

The drug is AR101 and is not a cure, says Dr. Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo, chief of the Center for Food Allergy at UR Medicine's Golisano Children's Hospital. Rather, it's a way to improve the lifestyle of someone with peanut allergies, who often must strictly avoid products like chocolate, often produced in facilities that also process peanuts. A trace amount can cause severe and unpredictable reactions.

During the study, children received small amounts of peanuts every day over the course of 24 weeks. It found that 2/3rds of those children were able to ingest six times the amount of peanuts than before the study began.

“It is a significant amount of peanut," says Jarviven-Seppo. "Many of them were able to tolerate and it certainly makes a big difference for their lifestyle knowing that they would not be reactive to small amount of peanut protein and not have severe reaction upon those exposures.”

UR Medicine is among 60 sites taking part in the second study, which is determining the safety of AR101 itself as opposed to effectiveness. The goal is for the drug to get Food and Drug Administration approval within the next year or two.