Skin Patch Could Help Ease Peanut Allergy in Toddlers

By Amy Norton 

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A “peanut patch” worn on the pores and skin might assist defend toddlers who’ve probably life-threatening peanut allergy symptoms, a brand new medical trial reveals.

The patch is a type of immunotherapy, which suggests it exposes peanut-allergic youngsters to tiny bits of peanut protein over time — with the aim of coaching the immune system to higher tolerate it.

In the trial, researchers discovered that of toddlers who wore the peanut patch daily for a 12 months, two-thirds confirmed a big discount of their sensitivity to peanut protein: They had been in a position to eat the equal of 1 to 4 peanuts with out struggling an allergic response.

While that may sound like peanuts, specialists mentioned that stage of tolerance is vital.

The aim of immunotherapy is to forestall a extreme response ought to a toddler by accident ingest a small quantity of peanut, mentioned Dr. Alkis Togias, of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“This is a constructive research,” mentioned Togias, who wrote an editorial printed with the findings on May 10 within the New England Journal of Medicine.

The patch examined within the trial, referred to as Viaskin, is being developed by French biotech firm DVB Technologies, which funded the analysis. It isn’t but authorised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

If it does win approval, Togias mentioned, “I believe that may solely be factor.”

An estimated 2% of U.S. youngsters are allergic to peanuts, and for many the allergy continues into maturity. That makes it the most typical meals allergy amongst children, and the third-most frequent amongst adults, in response to the nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE).

People with peanut allergy can endure reactions, generally extreme, from ingesting even a small quantity of the meals — the portions which might be generally lurking in processed or ready meals. So they (or their dad and mom) should studiously learn meals labels and take different precautions to keep away from peanut publicity.

But that is not simple, Togias mentioned, and accidents occur.

As far as therapy, there’s an oral type of immunotherapy authorised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for peanut allergy, referred to as Palforzia. It’s a peanut flour product that may be blended into meals, like applesauce. But it is solely authorised for kids ages 4 and older.

“There are at the moment no FDA-approved therapy choices for toddlers underneath 4 years outdated,” mentioned Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, the lead researcher on the brand new trial.

Oral immunotherapy is underneath research for toddlers with peanut allergy. But Greenhawt mentioned it is at all times good to have a number of choices on the desk.

“What works for one household might not work for one more,” he mentioned.

Plus, the patch method might have fewer unintended effects, in response to Greenhawt, a professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado/University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The patch, he mentioned, “takes benefit” of the truth that the pores and skin is the physique’s largest immune system organ. That means a smaller dose of peanut protein can be utilized, serving to to skirt the systemic unintended effects generally attributable to oral immunotherapy — similar to upset abdomen, throat irritation and shortness of breath.

Those sorts of issues hardly ever come up with the patch, mentioned Greenhawt, who additionally serves as a medical advisor to DBV Technologies.

The trial concerned 362 toddlers, ages 1 to three, who had been randomly assigned to put on both the peanut patch or a placebo (inactive) patch daily for a 12 months. Overall, 67% of youngsters on the true therapy met the trial’s finish aim: Their immune tolerance was constructed as much as the purpose that they might ingest the equal of 1 to 4 peanuts with out an allergic response.

That in contrast with 33% of youngsters within the placebo group.

Skin rash was the most typical facet impact with the peanut patch, whereas just below 2% of toddlers developed systemic signs that had been judged “gentle to reasonable.”

How would that stack up in opposition to peanut powder?

It’s laborious to evaluate, Togias mentioned, as a result of no trial has in contrast the approaches face to face.

But he pointed to a trial printed final 12 months that examined oral immunotherapy for 1- to 3-year-olds with peanut allergy. The findings, Togias mentioned, counsel that the oral method might have stronger results in desensitizing the immune system.

On the opposite hand, he added, the pores and skin patch could also be safer.

One bigger-picture query round immunotherapy for peanut allergy, Togias mentioned, is whether or not there’s a level at which it may be stopped. Palforzia is taken daily indefinitely, to take care of the immune system’s tolerance for peanut.

Greenhawt mentioned the peanut patch can also be designed for every day use, and trials to date (together with considered one of older youngsters) have adopted sufferers for as much as three years of use.

Jennifer Bufford, vice chairman of medical operations at FARE, agreed that having a number of sorts of immunotherapy can be good for households.

Bufford additionally famous that many individuals with peanut allergy are allergic to different meals, too. “It can be attention-grabbing to see if epicutaneous [via the skin] desensitization may be achieved for different frequent meals allergens,” she mentioned.

While there’s constructive information on the therapy entrance, Togias harassed one other level: Peanut allergy symptoms will also be prevented, by introducing peanut merchandise into infants’ diets as soon as they begin on stable meals.

More info

FARE has extra on peanut allergy.


SOURCES: Matthew Greenhawt, MD, MBA, MSc, professor, pediatrics, part of allergy and immunology, Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora; Alkis Togias, MD, department chief, allergy, bronchial asthma and airway biology department, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Md.; Jennifer Bufford, MS, vice chairman, medical operations, Food Allergy Research and Education, McLean, Va.; New England Journal of Medicine, May 11, 2023

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