Toddlers with severe peanut allergies may benefit from a brand new, experimental skin patch that prepares their bodies for any possible accidents.
As you may already know, one of the most prevalent and harmful food allergies out there is peanut allergy.
Parents of children with allergies are always on the lookout for exposures that might transform play dates and birthday celebrations into trips to the ER.
No treatment exists. The sole remedy is a specific peanut powder that may be consumed by kids 4 and older to guard against a serious response.
But now, the Viaskin patch seeks to give that type of therapy via the skin.
Researchers announced Wednesday that in a large experiment with children aged 1 to 3, it allowed those who could not stomach even a small part of a peanut to finally comfortably consume a few of them.
If further testing is successful, “this would fulfill a major unmet need,” according to allergist Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, who assisted with the study’s direction.
About 2 percent of children in the United States have peanut allergies, and for some of them, even a small quantity can result in a potentially fatal reaction.
Their immune system overreacts to meals containing peanuts, setting off a chain reaction of inflammatory symptoms like hives and asthma or even worse.
Some children outgrow the allergy, but the majority must avoid peanuts for the rest of their lives and carry emergency treatment in case they mistakenly consume some.
The FDA authorized Palforzia, an “oral immunotherapy,” back in 2020. Kids between the ages of 4 and 17 should take it every day to maintain the protection.
Palforzia from Aimmune Therapeutics is also being researched on young children.
Skin based immunotherapy is being pursued by France’s DBV Technologies as an alternate method to desensitize the body to allergens.
A little quantity of peanut protein is applied to the Viaskin patch and is then absorbed by the skin.
Every day, a patch has to be worn between the shoulder blades, out of reach of young children.
To determine how much peanut protein 362 children with peanut allergies might handle, the current study first evaluated them.
The Viaskin patch or a fake patch with a similar appearance was then given to them at random to wear each day.
When they were retested after a year of therapy, researchers found that almost two-thirds of the kids who used the genuine patch could safely consume more peanuts, the equivalent of about three or four.
In comparison, only approximately a third of children who received the fake patches had the same results.
According to Greenhawt, these probably include kids who are growing out of the allergy.
In terms of security, four Viaskin users experienced an allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, and it was found that the patch was to fault.
After getting three doses of epinephrine to regulate the reaction, one person withdrew from the study.
During the trial, some kids inadvertently consumed products containing peanuts, and researchers found that Viaskin users experienced allergic responses less frequently than those wearing sham patches. Skin discomfort at the patch location was the most frequent adverse reaction.
The study’s findings have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Alkis Togias, who has not been directly involved in the research, wrote in an editorial that the results “are very good news for toddlers and their families as the next step toward a future with more treatments for food allergies.”
Togias emphasized that it is too soon to draw comparisons between oral and topical therapies, but he also cited research indicating that each may have unique benefits and drawbacks, raising the prospect that oral medication may be more potent but also carry greater risks.
For many years, DBV Technologies has tried to get the peanut patch on the market.
The business said last month that the FDA needs more information on child safety, and a different trial is already following lengthier therapy. A study with kids aged 4 to 7 is also in progress.