Allergies can range from slightly annoying to life threatening, and although a range of drugs and medications prevent and reduce allergic reactions, the newest of these was found in an unlikely way. According to a recent report, cancer patients given the drug ibrutinib in place of chemotherapy also experienced an 80 to 90 percent reduction in allergic reactions, UPI reported

These results lasted up to two months after patients first started their drug course. The study was small, based on only 35 patients, and the patients involved had allergies only to cat dander and ragweed. Still, the results are promising and the team plans to extend future research to include adults with food allergies.

Read: Allergy Cure 2017: 3 Years Of Pollen Pills, Injections Can 'Suppress' Hay Fever Symptoms

"Preventing or lessening the severity of an allergic reaction to a food you've ingested that you're allergic to is kind of the holy grail of food allergy treatment," Dr. Bruce Bochner, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a press release on Northwestern's website. "I don't know if this or similar drugs will ever make it possible for a peanut-allergic person to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but we're excited to use this approach to teach us how to lessen the risks of food allergy reactions."

According to UPI, ibrutinib is an FDA-approved cancer drug that has proven to be well-tolerated. The drug works by blocking a protein inside a cell known as Bruton's Tyrosine Kinase, or BTK. In addition to treating cancer, Bochner explained that the drug also “almost completely knocked out the patients' skin test and blood cell allergic reactivity."

According to Medical News Today, allergies are a result of hypersensitive immune responses to otherwise harmless substances such as pet dander, pollen, and bee venom. In those without allergies, exposure to these allergens has little or no effect. However, for those with allergies, exposure can cause the immune system to attack and try and destroy the suspected harmful substance. This can cause a number of symptoms, such as stuffy nose, itchy eyes and nose, swollen eyes, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes, Medical News Today reported.

Different allergens can cause different types of reactions, for example, food allergens can cause throat swelling and diarrhea, where insect allergies are more likely to cause hives and dizziness. In the most extreme cases, exposure to an allergen can cause an individual with allergies to experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, WebMD reported.

Source: Regan JA, Cao Y, Dispenza MC, et al. Ibrutinib, a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor used for treatment of lymphoproliferative disorders, eliminates both aeroallergen skin test and basophil activation test reactivity. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology . 2017

See Also:

The Surprising Truth About Hidden Allergies, And How To Reverse Them

Allergies To Tree Nuts May Be Overdiagnosed; Study Shows You May Not Be Allergic After All