Peanut allergies can be life-threatening for some children, but a new “peanut patch” may be the solution their parents have been searching for.
The small skin patch – known as Viaskin® Peanut -is applied to the child’s skin and appears to offer safe and effective protection against this serious condition.
“This is exciting news for families who suffer with peanut allergies because Viaskin represents a new treatment option for patients and physicians,” study author Hugh A. Sampson, a doctor at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai, said in a statement.
Based on the principle of epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT), the patch delivers small doses of peanut proteins when placed on patients’ skin.
The team of researchers completed a double blind, placebo-controlled randomized Phase IIb trial in which 221 individuals with peanut allergies underwent the therapy for a year.
The patch exposed patients to a small dose of peanut protein, ranging from 50 to 250 micrograms, for the course of the study.
The 250 µg peanut patch shows the most promise for researchers. “After one year of therapy, half of the patients treated with the 250 micrograms patch tolerated at least 1 gram of peanut protein – about four peanuts —which is 10 times the dose that they tolerated in their entry oral peanut challenge,” Sampson explained.
Compliance was greater than 95% and less than 1% of the participants dropped out of the study due to adverse symptoms. In fact, there were no serious adverse reactions related to the patch treatment.
Overall, children treated with the larger patch experienced a robust increase (19 fold) in peanut-specific IgG4 levels, the antibody associated with protection following immunotherapy.
“EPIT appears safe, well tolerated and effective. That’s good news for families who suffer from food allergies,” Sampson said.
While the results are promising, researchers will continue to follow the participants for another year. It could be several more years before the patch become available for consumers, but there is hope on the horizon.
Justin Worland, http://time.com/3718529/peanut-patch-allergy/