An estimated 1.5 million children in america are sensitive to peanuts, an allergy that can generally be so significant that can cause drastic consequences if the nuts are ingested.
To counter that excessive response, researchers are working over a patch that works to lower the severity. And it’s it’s just become the first of its kind to enter phase 3 clinical trials, the last human trial needed before the US FDA gets a chance to evaluate and (hopefully for the company) approve it.
The French biotechnology firm behind the repair, DBV Technologies, calls the approach to treating serious allergies an ” epicutaneous immunotherapy,” which suggests the immune system- targeting drug is supplied through your skin. DBV could be the first firm to use this technology.
Inside each patch is a sprayed-on sample of peanut protein. Once you use it, the protein makes its way throughout your skin into your immunity system. It is never made by the allergen to the system, which might trigger the allergic reaction you’re attempting to prevent since it is delivered this way. Preferably, when worn daily for a year or so, the patch makes it feasible for individuals with peanut allergies to consume a small amount of peanuts, according to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, David Schilansky.
Like, if an individual who started using the repair initially couldn’t withstand consuming 1/10th of just one entire peanut, she could ideally eat about a few peanuts without the response after having a couple of years of daily-use (the exact schedule for the patch to take effect continues to be being pinned down, says Schilansky).
Still, a tiny improvement could make a positive change.
When you cannot afford more than a 10th of a peanut that’s really progress,” Schilansky told Business Insider.
That’s completely different in the way allergies are generally treated in practice: Before this immunotherapy strategy, the only way to minimize an allergic reaction was through “desensitization,” a process in which you slowly add modest amounts of the allergen into the body, in the case of peanut allergies, by eating the peanut overall.
The downside with this method is that it can be very risky since it can cause an allergic reaction that spreads throughout the body via the blood stream. Other, more common methods, for treating allergies have been focused around treating the symptoms of the allergic reaction, ie. using antihistamines like Benadryl or shots of epinephrine in extreme cases.
The patch, however, is being studied for its effects on children aged four to 11 who can benefit the most from having less severe allergies.
Allergies can be constant and life-threatening, Schilansky said. With children, the problem can be even scarier. Schilansky said that the peace of mind that comes with knowing your child won’t have an extreme allergic reaction is what DBV’s Viaskin is all about.
This is a new method of immunotherapy,” according to Pierre-Henri Benhamou, DBV’s CEO.
This means there will be a lot of room to expand. Up next, Benhamou said the company is continuing research on using the patch for other food allergies such as milk and eggs – among the most common food allergies – and other non-food allergies that are connected to asthma. And after that, DBV plans to explore allergy vaccines that would ideally keep allergies from happening.