By Allergen Bureau

Is there a better way to desensitize people with food allergies?

Peanut-coated microneedles have been shown to offer better food allergen immunotherapy in early studies carried out on preclinical models. A microneedle device is worn like a band aid and delivers treatments directly through the skin barrier. As well as being able to inject medications without pain, microneedles are low cost, effective, and safe.

Investigators in the US tested peanut-coated microneedles on laboratory models by applying the device to skin for five minutes once a week over five weeks. They compared that to models that received epicutaneous immunotherapy, which involves wearing a patch on the skin for 24 hours each day over the same five-week period.

The five weekly microneedle treatments resulted in significantly increased rates of desensitization to peanut allergy compared with epicutaneous immunotherapy, which required two months of treatment to achieve protection. The microneedle treatment success was achieved despite applying a dose of peanut protein 10-times lower than the dose delivered by epicutaneous immunotherapy.

The results from this pre-clinical trial demonstrate the potential for peanut microneedles to improve food allergen immunotherapy through the skin. Many more investigations are required to develop this promising technology into a clinical product.

Reference: Landers et al. (2022). Immunotherapy. DOI: 10.2217/imt-2021-0206.

Further reporting is available on the News Medical website.