Allergic to Peanuts? There's a Patch for That

Two peanuts, one with a cracked shell

The most common food allergen - peanuts - may have met its match with a new technology developed by DBV Technologies. While there are currently no immunotherapies for food allergies, DBV Technologies' Viaskin patch has been proven to help reduce peanut sensitivity in 70% of daily wearers, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Researchers believe approximately 6 million childern in the US alone suffer from food allergies, almost 40% of which have a history of severe reactions. DBV's Viaskin patch administers the allergen directly to the users skin. Each patch contains 250 micrograms of peanut protein powder, which is dissolved gradually. This activates the immune system "by specifically targeting antigen-presenting cells without passage of the antigen into the bloodstream" DBV's website states. Basically, the patch exposes the wearer to a small amount of the allergen so their immune system can lean how to handle it. After 2 years of treatment, 70% of daily wearers in a 171-person study can now handle ingesting trace amounts of peanuts.

Phase III testing of the treatment began in December and involves 330 participants.According to DBV's website, the patiens will be assessed using a double-blind placebo controlled food challenge, where they will be randomized 2:1 to receive eith Viaskin Peanut or a placebo for 12 months.

DBV has also begun developing Viaskin treatments for two other prominent food allergies - milk and eggs.