“I’m really nervous about it. I’m not going to lie, I’m petrified.”
Lisa Valentine’s son, Bradleigh, has a potentially fatal nut allergy, so the first time she watches him being fed some peanut will be a leap of faith.
The six-year-old’s family, from Wrexham, are hoping he can take part in a ground-breaking trial to reduce his sensitivity with tiny doses of peanut.
Lisa admits “it’s a risk” but says that for Bradleigh and their family, it could transform their lives.
Birthday parties, holidays and eating out are normal and exciting events in the lives of most children while growing up. But none of it is simple for Bradleigh.
Fearing any contact with products containing nuts could trigger a reaction or even cause him to have an anaphylactic shock, Lisa takes precautions.
“We can’t just go and just eat here or there – we can’t do that and we will never do that,” she says.
“We won’t go on holiday… we won’t go on an aeroplane because we don’t want to put him at risk.”
But the family hope the immunotherapy trial could change everything.
“Our lives would be completely different,” says Lisa.
“If it worked, I don’t think I would buy him a bag of peanuts, but I don’t think we’d scrutinise the ‘may contain’, which would mean that we could go to the supermarket and just put things in.”
Around 2-4% of children in the UK have a peanut allergy, according to recent figures.
Currently, most peanut allergy therapies involve using tiny amounts of carefully prepared peanut flour. But as it can be expensive, it may never be available on the NHS.
Researchers at Imperial College London are hoping that using boiled peanuts could be a more cost-effective and safer option.
Paediatric allergist and immunologist Dr Paul Turner, responsible for the trial at St Mary’s Hospital, London, says: “We’re trying to look at different ways – cheaper ways – of doing this sort of treatment safely, that would also be affordable in the context of the NHS.”
Following the first trial, all patients who completed a year of the boiled nut therapy were able to tolerate eating six to eight peanuts without experiencing significant symptoms.
Dr Turner, who developed the idea while working abroad in Australia, said it had been very successful.
“Colleagues of mine had noticed that some children from south east Asia were allergic to peanut butter, which is made out of roasted peanuts, but not boiled peanut soup,” he said.
“That got us thinking, what happens when you boil peanuts that makes it less allergic in some people?”
Boiling peanuts reduces the amount of the peanut protein that triggers the immune system to react in an allergic reaction.
As part of this novel immunotherapy trial, patients are given small doses of boiled peanuts over an extended period of time.
Despite the trial being conducted in a strictly controlled environment by trained researches, Lisa is still concerned about the potential impact of feeding Bradleigh peanuts.
“It’s risky, isn’t it? Every time, every other week, that he has that little bit more – or it might be the first time – he could have an anaphylactic shock,” she said.
“As much as you think he’s going to be in a controlled environment where the hospital can save him, what if they can’t?
“You do worry as a mum – you are going to worry about those kinds of things, so it is risky. But it could change his life.”
To participate in the trial, Lisa will have to travel with Bradleigh from Wrexham to London every other week and stay in the city overnight.
Although it may be expensive, the family have decided to “find a way of doing it, whatever it would take”. They have also been helped by friends and family who’ve been raising money.
Lynne Regent, the chief executive of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, welcomes the potential of this type of treatment.
“I think it’s fantastic. If people are affected by severe food allergies, at the moment, really the only path they can take is avoidance and also carrying their rescue medication,” she said.
Parents are being warned by the researchers not attempt to self-medicate their children or attempt this type of therapy themselves.
They’re hoping that their own trial may lead to a cost-effective and safe treatment being available on the NHS, which could transform the lives of thousands of children and young people.
President Trump is on the second day of his three-day state visit to the UK, joined by his wife, First Lady Melania Trump.
Mr and Mrs Trump visited Downing Street for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and will attend an evening banquet at Winfield House, the London residence of the US ambassador.
Protests against Mr Trump’s state visit have been held in central London. Here are pictures of events on Tuesday.
Photos are copyright.
US President Donald Trump will join the Queen in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, on the final day of his UK state visit.
Theresa May will host 15 world leaders to honour the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.
Figures from every country that fought alongside the UK will be attending.
Mr Trump said he was looking forward to going to Portsmouth to commemorate what “may have been the greatest battle ever in history”.
The countries being represented at the event have agreed to make a joint statement pledging to ensure the “unimaginable horror” of World War Two is not repeated.
Called “the D-Day proclamation”, the 16 signatories – including the UK and the United States – commit to working together to “resolve international tensions peacefully”.
The UK prime minister will use the occasion to call for continued Western unity in tackling what she will call “new and evolving security threats”.
The commemorations to mark the Allied invasion of northern France come a day after Mr Trump had a series of political meetings as part of his three-day state visit to the UK.
The president used a TV interview to play down his earlier suggestion that the NHS would be included in post-Brexit trade talks between the US and the UK.
During a joint news conference with the UK prime minister, Mr Trump had said “everything is on the table” in future discussions between the countries.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock was among several Conservative leadership candidates who said they would not allow the NHS to become part of any trade talks.
And later Mr Trump told Piers Morgan in an interview for ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he did not “see it being on the table”.
“Somebody asked me a question today and I said everything’s up for negotiation because everything is, but I don’t see that being… that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade,” he said.
Other things Mr Trump said in the ITV interview were:
- People who fought in D-Day paid the “ultimate debt”. “That may have been the greatest battle ever in history,” he said. “Being at that site [Portsmouth was one of the key embarkation points on D-Day] will be very interesting”
- He would have “no problem” with meeting Jeremy Corbyn another time after earlier revealing he had turned down a request to meet the Labour leader who he called a “negative force”
- He had a long conversation with Prince Charles about climate change – referred to as “extreme weather” by Mr Trump – and was impressed with the prince’s “passion” for future generations
- He clarified that he had called the Duchess of Sussex’s comments about him “nasty”, rather than calling her nasty
- His mother “would have been very proud” to see him meet the Queen
- “There’s always a chance” he might take military action in Iran, but he does not want to. “I’d much rather talk [to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani],” he said
- On having the nuclear codes – “I think it’s a terrible responsibility but it’s a responsibility I’m prepared to handle”
- On his ban on transgender people serving in the army – “It is what it is,” he said. “They take massive amounts of drugs, they have to… You would have to break rules and regulations in order to have that”
Tuesday saw protesters gathered in central London and other cities – including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield – to voice their opposition to President Trump’s visit.
Mr Corbyn – who boycotted Monday evening’s state dinner – was joined at the rally on Tuesday by members of other political parties, including the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.
Trump and what comes next
For any prime minister, handling a president like Donald Trump is like trying to hold on to a Ming vase walking across a recently polished, slippery parquet floor.
He’s a leader who glories in the unpredictable, who seems to wake up every morning wondering what controversy he can provoke, what headlines he can create.
His reason for being is therefore from the start in contrast with the stiff choreography of a state visit.
But No 10 will be relieved that the formalities with the PM were free of mishap. And, as Theresa May readies herself for the exit, Donald Trump, who has definitely embarrassed her in the past, didn’t repeat that habit.
Instead, he spoke warmly of her, suggesting that history may judge her much more kindly than the manner of her departure suggests.
But some of the most notable remarks were not related to the prime minister in any case, but to what’s next.
Whether you are overjoyed about Mrs May leaving or not, it is telling that the three names Donald Trump mentioned immediately when asked about the next leader were Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, and Michael Gove, categorising them deliberately or not as the three most likely candidates to win the keys to No 10.
In a Tweet posted on Wednesday, Mr Trump said the “massive” rallies he had been told to expect were “flops”.
“The big crowds, which the Corrupt Media hates to show, were those that gathered in support of the USA and me,” he added.
At the end of a day of meetings with the prime minister and a visit to the Churchill War Rooms, Mr Trump welcomed guests for a banquet at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attended on behalf of the Queen, along with the prime minister and some members of her cabinet.
The US president is expected to meet Tory leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove on Wednesday morning – he has already had a phone conversation with fellow candidate Boris Johnson – before his first official engagement in Portsmouth at 11:00 BST.
The Queen and the Prince of Wales will attend the commemorations on Southsea Common, along with representatives from every country that fought alongside the UK in the Battle of Normandy.
- D-Day veteran: ‘I looked at the wounded and I cried’
- ‘I survived D-Day – then had my first champagne’
It was the largest military operation ever attempted and marked the start of the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied north-west Europe.
Troops from the UK, the US, Canada, and France attacked German forces on the coast of northern France, on 6 June 1944.
Joining Mrs May and Mr Trump will be French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as prime ministers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland and Slovakia.
The last time the UK hosted this many world leaders outside a formal summit was the 2012 Olympics.
Members of the armed forces and more than 300 veterans, who are all over 90 years old, will also attend the event in Portsmouth – one of the key embarkation points on D-Day.
Following the commemorations, Mr Trump will fly to Shannon for his first visit to the Republic of Ireland as US president.
He will then hold a meeting with the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar before he goes to his golf resort in Doonbeg.