Are there promising possibilities for treating peanut allergy?Study finds skin patches for toddlers to be effective


Experimental skin patches have shown promise in treating young children with severe allergies to peanuts, training their bodies to cope with accidental bites.

Peanut allergy is one of the most common and dangerous food allergies. Parents of toddlers with allergies are always on guard for exposures that birthday parties and playdates can lead to emergency room visits.

There is no cure. The only treatment is for children over the age of 4 who can take a special peanut powder to protect themselves from severe reactions.

Dubbed Viaskin, the patch aims to deliver that kind of treatment through the skin instead. A large-scale trial of children ages 1 to 3 found that children who could not tolerate even a small portion of peanuts could eventually safely eat a few. reported Wednesday.

If the additional tests are successful, “it will fill a huge unmet need,” said study leader Dr. Matthew Greenhort, an allergist at Children’s Hospital of Colorado.

About 2% of children in the United States are allergic to peanuts, and even very small amounts can cause severe, life-threatening reactions in some. Their immune system overreacts to foods containing peanuts, triggering an inflammatory cascade that causes hives, wheezing, or worse. Some young people can overcome allergies, but most must avoid peanuts for life and carry emergency medicine to prevent serious reactions if accidentally ingested.

In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first treatment to induce tolerance to peanuts. It’s an “oral immunotherapy,” called Parforzia, that children ages 4 to 17 take daily to maintain their protection. Aimmune Therapeutics’ Palforzia is also being tested in young children.

France’s DBV Technologies is pursuing skin-based immunotherapy as an alternative to desensitizing the body to allergens.

Viaskin patches are coated with a small amount of peanut protein that is absorbed into the skin. The patch is worn daily between the shoulder blades and cannot be removed by infants.

The new study first tested 362 infants with peanut allergies to see how much peanut protein they could tolerate. They were then randomly assigned to use the Viaskin patch or a similar dummy patch daily.

When tested again after a year of treatment, about two-thirds of the infants who used the real patch were able to safely consume more peanuts (the equivalent of three to four), the researchers concluded. rice field.

This corresponds to approximately one-third of young people with dummy patches. Greenhort said those likely included children who were overcoming allergies.

Regarding safety, four people who received Viaskin experienced an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which was thought to be related to the patch. Three were treated with epinephrine to calm their reactions and one dropped out of the study.

Some young people accidentally ate foods containing peanuts during the study, and the researchers said bias skin users had less frequent allergic reactions than those wearing dummy patches. The most common side effect was skin irritation at the patch site.

The results of this study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Archis Togias of the National Institutes of Health, who was not involved in the study, said the results are “very good news for young children and their families as the next step toward a future with more treatments for food allergies.” wrote. Accompanying editorial.

Togias cautioned that it is premature to compare oral and skin treatments, but pointed to data suggesting that each may have different strengths and weaknesses, with oral treatments being more potent. It’s possible, but it increases the chances of it causing more side effects, he said.

DBV Technologies has struggled for several years to bring a peanut patch to market. The company announced last month that the FDA is seeking additional safety data in young children and that it is already following long-term treatment in another study. Studies are also underway in children aged 4 to 7 years.

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The Associated Press’ Health Sciences Division is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.



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