A recent article on CNN says the latest allergy preventative comes in a wearable “Peanut Patch.”1 The clinical trial, which included 362 toddlers from eight countries, yielded promising results. Although the patch can’t rid a child of their peanut allergy, it can help them tolerate exposure better and be better protected from a severe reaction.
Every allergy parent knows the stress and fear of sending their child out into the world—a world that, although beautiful and full of adventure, is also full of something that could make their child deathly ill. There are endless questions before attending any event—what food will they serve? Can people bring in their own food? And then there’s the label reading—oh, the label reading. It never lets up. But worst of all is when events or places must isolate our kids because whatever super-fun thing is going on is not allergy-safe for them. And nothing breaks a mom’s heart like seeing their faces when you tell them they can’t go.
This latest story to hit the allergy community is so exciting. Because anytime there is an advancement in the medical field, our eyes light up, and we scramble for information. And, from one peanut allergy mom to another, this news is good.
What Is the Peanut Patch?
After a 12-month trial, CNN reports that “two-thirds of the children who used the Viaskin patch and one-third of the placebo group had met the trial’s primary endpoint. Children with a less sensitive allergy could safely tolerate peanut protein equivalent to consuming three or four peanuts, and more sensitive children could tolerate the equivalent of consuming one peanut.”1
“The patch, a product called Viaskin from biopharmaceutical company DBV Technologies, contains a small dose of peanut protein equal to about 1/1,000th of a peanut kernel,” NBC News says.2
How Does the Peanut Patch Work?
Viaskin is a once-daily patch applied to the child’s back between the shoulder blades. “The Viaskin patch contains a deposit of dry allergen at its center that sits above the skin on a backing film,” DBV Technologies explains.3 “When the patch is applied to intact skin, a condensation chamber is formed between the allergen and the top layer of skin, the epidermis. Natural water loss from the skin accumulates within the condensation chamber, solubilizing the allergen. Once solubilized, the allergen is available for absorption into the epidermis.”
That’s fancy medical speak for the body absorbing small amounts of allergen are safely through the skin. From there, the body knows what to do, as cells capture the allergen and carry it to the lymph nodes, inducing T-cells to suppress the allergic response.
Isn’t science amazing?!
“The late-stage trial, which involved more than 200 children ages 1 to 3 with peanut allergies, found that after wearing the experimental patch around 22 hours a day for a year, 67% were able to tolerate 300 to 1,000 milligrams of peanut protein — the equivalent of one to four peanuts,” NBC News reports.2
Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, the study’s lead author and director of the Food Challenge and Research Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado, reports that the findings were exciting on two fronts: The patch raised the amount of tolerance in the children tested and decreased the number of severe reactions.2
With such positive results, DBV Technologies is hopeful the Peanut Patch can be available to kids with allergies soon. “Parents and caregivers are eagerly awaiting FDA-approved treatment options for this age group,” DBV CEO Daniel Tassé said in a news release.4
With this latest development, allergy parents everywhere are jumping with joy—particularly parents of babies and toddlers who cannot yet advocate for themselves. Young children who cannot yet ask, “What are the ingredients in this?” and who cannot read labels yet or say, “I am allergic to peanuts” or “My throat feels funny.”
I’m thrilled with what the Peanut Patch offers kids and parents. My allergy kid is now 10 and can ask the right questions and read labels, so I have breathed a bit easier over the last few years, but the anxiety never leaves.
Although nothing can ever completely take away a parent’s fear of their child having a severe reaction, knowing that their little one is more protected with the Viaskin “Peanut Patch” will offer parents some peace of mind that they maybe not have ever had before. And you can’t put a price on that.
Thank you, science!