Wearable skin patches offer hope to peanut allergic children

The Viaskin Peanut patch is a wearable skin patch being developed to help children who are allergic to peanut. Early results from an on-going trial indicate that nearly half of those treated with the patch for one year were able to consume at least 10 times more peanut protein than they were able to prior to treatment, potentially protecting them from a life-threatening response to accidental exposure to peanut.

The trial is sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health and conducted by the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), led by Dr Hugh Sampson at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

The Viaskin patches were developed and provided by the biopharmaceutical company DBV Technologies. CoFAR researchers at five study sites randomly assigned 74 peanut-allergic volunteers aged 4 to 25 years to treatment with either a high-dose, low-dose, or placebo patch. Each day, study participants applied a new patch to their arm or between their shoulder blades. The treatment was found to be safe and well-tolerated and nearly all participants used the skin patch daily as directed.

The low-dose and high-dose regimens offered similar benefits, with 46 percent of the low-dose group and 48 percent of the high-dose group achieving treatment success, compared with 12 percent of the placebo group. The biggest benefit came for those aged from 4 years old to 11 years old. The small, daily doses of peanut protein did not appear to have as much effect for study participants older than 12 years.

After the first year, all participants began receiving high-dose daily patches and they will continue using these for a total of two and a half years. Additional studies in larger groups of children are needed before the therapy could be approved for wider use.

Reference: Jones et al. 2016. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.08.017

See also the NIH media release on the trial results.