Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies. It affects millions and their families around the nation, requiring constant alertness. Exposure to even trace amounts of the nut can cause mild to moderate reactions (e.g. itching, sneezing, rashes) and in severe cases, it can be potentially fatal. Thankfully, a study recently published by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows a promising future for treating the allergy.
The Peanut Patch Trial
The peanut patch trial was conducted by five research sites across the country. The study evaluated peanut epictaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) –a method inducing desensitization in allergic patients by delivering peanut protein through the skin. The peanut protein was induced by using a Viaskin Peanut Patch that’s manufactured by DBV Technologies.
The trial was tested on 74 peanut allergic participants between the ages of 4-25 years old. Participants were divided into three groups: a group of 25 given a placebo patch, a group of 24 given patches containing 100 micrograms of peanut protein (the smaller dose), and a group of 25 given patches containing 250 micrograms of peanut protein (the larger dose).
The quarter-sized patches were to be placed either inside of the upper arms or on the back depending on the age of the participant. Patches were changed every 24 hours. These participants were observed by adverse reactions and mechanistic changes over the course of 52 weeks. The study evaluated whether the peanut patch could increase the tolerance in the peanut allergic participants.
At week 52, the treatment saw success with 12 percent of the placebo participants, 46 percent of the smaller dosage participants and 48 percent of the larger dosage participants. This success was assessed by an oral food challenge with food containing peanuts. As you can see, the treatment achieved its highest success in the volunteers that received the higher dosage. The treatment also saw higher success in younger children between the ages 4-11 years old.
Though the results of the peanut patch saw positive results, it doesn’t mean consumers will be running to stores purchasing it anytime soon. The study doesn’t even show a majority of the success. What it does show is that there is hope. Further investigation and testing will continue in attempts to improve the drug. It won’t deplete peanut allergy problems but hopefully it will increase the tolerance in sufferers.