Novel skin patch could help treat peanut allergies in toddlers

A daily-use patch administers immunotherapy through the skin.
Mrigakshi Dixit
Representational image
Representational image


A new study has shown that an experimental skin patch can effectively treat toddlers highly allergic to peanuts. The primary goal of this skin patch is to prepare young children's bodies to withstand accidental peanut bites.

DBV Technologies, a biopharmaceutical company based in France, created this novel “Viaskin” patch. The wearable patch administers immunotherapy through the skin. This daily-use patch contains 250 micrograms of peanut protein absorbed through the skin.

“Viaskin Peanut, a novel form of EPIT, has the potential to offer a new and breakthrough science that modifies an individual’s underlying food allergy by re-educating the immune system to increase tolerance to allergens,” explained the official release.

This development is advantageous because traces of peanuts can be found in children's food items, including candies, dip sauces, and ice cream. As a result, the patch would prevent allergy relief in such unintentional situations, as the body is trained at a young age. Not to mention that there are no FDA-approved treatment options for children under the age of four.

The phase 3 trials

The results of the EPITOPE trial of epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) were recently announced by the company. 

The late-stage clinical trials involved 362 peanut-allergic toddlers aged one to three from eight different countries. They were all tested for peanut sensitivity to determine their tolerance to various doses of peanut protein.

After a year of treatment, the results revealed that approximately two-thirds of the toddlers could safely consume some peanuts. It was especially beneficial for toddlers who couldn't tolerate even a trace of peanuts but were able to eat a few after applying this patch.

Nearly two percent of children in the U.S. are allergic to peanut-containing foods. Even minor exposure can cause severe reactions such as inflammation, hives, or wheezing in some.

According to experts, some people outgrow their peanut allergy as they get older. Nevertheless, they still have to avoid peanuts for life. 

“If approved, the Viaskin Peanut patch has the potential to give new hope to toddlers and their families who currently have no approved treatment options and must instead rely on avoidance, which can severely impact the quality of life. The EPITOPE data are a meaningful advancement in potentially offering the first-ever FDA-approved treatment option for peanut-allergic toddlers,” said Matthew Greenhawt, M.D., MBA, MSc of Children’s Hospital Colorado and lead author of the publication, in an official statement.

The results have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine on May 11.

Study abstract:

No approved treatment for peanut allergy exists for children younger than four years of age, and the efficacy and safety of epicutaneous immunotherapy with a peanut patch in toddlers with peanut allergy are unknown.

We conducted this phase 3, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving children 1 to 3 years of age with peanut allergy confirmed by a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge. Patients who had an eliciting dose (the dose necessary to elicit an allergic reaction) of 300 mg or less of peanut protein were assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive epicutaneous immunotherapy delivered by means of a peanut patch (intervention group) or to receive placebo administered daily for 12 months. The primary end point was a treatment response as measured by the eliciting dose of peanut protein at 12 months. Safety was assessed according to the occurrence of adverse events during the use of the peanut patch or placebo.

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