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New skin patch for peanut allergy found beneficial for children

New York: Researchers have come up with a new wearable patch for skin that claims to treat children and young adults with peanut allergy, finds a study.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggested that small amounts of peanut protein through the skin showed promising benefits for younger children.

The treatment, called epicutaneous immunotherapy or EPIT, was safe and well-tolerated, and nearly all participants used the skin patch daily as directed.

“To avoid potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, people with peanut allergy must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter, which can be very stressful,” said Anthony S. Fauci, Managing Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The researchers randomly assigned 74 peanut-allergic volunteers aged 4 to 25 years to treatment with either a high-dose (250 micrograms peanut protein), low-dose (100 micrograms peanut protein), or placebo patch.

Each day, study participants applied a new patch to their arm or between their shoulder blades.

After one year, researchers assessed each participant’s ability to consume at least 10 times more peanut protein than he or she was able to consume before starting EPIT.

The low-dose and high-dose regimens offered similar benefits, with 46 per cent of the low-dose group and 48 per cent of the high-dose group achieving treatment success, compared with 12 per cent of the placebo group.

In addition, the peanut patches induced immune responses similar to those seen with other investigational forms of immunotherapy for food allergy. Investigators observed greater treatment effects among children aged 4 to 11 years, with significantly less effect in participants aged 12 years and older.

“Epicutaneous immunotherapy aims to engage the immune system in the skin to train the body to tolerate small amounts of allergen, whereas other recent advances have relied on an oral route that appears difficult for approximately 10 to 15 per cent of children and adults to tolerate,” said Daniel Rotrosen, Director, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation at the of NIAID.

Nearly all of the study participants followed the EPIT regimen as directed. None reported serious reactions to the patch, although most experienced mild skin reactions, such as itching or rash at the site of patch application.

The patches were developed and provided by the biopharmaceutical company DBV Technologies under the trade name Viaskin.

IANS