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New startup develops Skin patches to help kids’ peanut allergies

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According to new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 1 in 13 children in the United States have food allergies. Peanut allergies among children have doubled in the past 10 years. 6-1.3 percent of Americans that are allergic to peanuts end up in the emergency room. In severe cases, exposure to even trace amounts of the nut can trigger a deadly reaction.

But according to a new research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, a tiny skin patch that delivers small amounts of peanut protein through the skin shows promise for treating children and young adults with peanut allergy.

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“To avoid potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, people with peanut allergy must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter, which can be very stressful, ” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “One goal of experimental approaches such as epicutaneous immunotherapy is to reduce this burden by training the immune system to tolerate enough peanut to protect against accidental ingestion or exposure.”

Dr. Stacie Jones applies a peanut patch to a clinical trial participant at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

 

Over one year, team of scientists from the Consortium of Food Allergy Research tested 74 peanut-allergic volunteers, ages 4 through 25, to see whether a daily DBV Technologies product Viaskin peanut patch could help raise their peanut threshold. The patch, called epicutaneous immunotherapy made about 80% of the kids who used peanut patches had some reaction, but they were mainly mild, like bumps and redness on the skin surrounding the patch. One teenager had to leave due to a patch reaction.

Another company,  Antera Therapeutics, a Boston startup founded in 2014 by Clarence Friedman developed regimen of early peanut allergen introduction that act as a kind of safe and easy-to-follow vaccine for common food allergens. A former scientist at Pfizer who attend Harvard Business School, Friedman has raised $2 million for the new company. Its first commercially available product, Aralyte, is available now. According to the company website Aralyte is less than a teaspoon of liquid that can be mixed with formula or breastmilk. Perfect for infants who are 4 months of age. The peanut-introduction kit being used in 15 clinics in the Boston area.

 

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More About The Trail 

CoFAR researchers at five study sites randomly assigned 74 peanut-allergic volunteers aged 4 to 25 years to treatment with either a high-dose (250 micrograms peanut protein), low-dose (100 micrograms peanut protein), or placebo patch. The investigators assessed peanut allergy at the beginning of the study with a supervised, oral food challenge with peanut-containing food. The patches were developed and provided by the biopharmaceutical company DBV Technologies under the trade name Viaskin. Each day, study participants applied a new patch to their arm or between their shoulder blades.

After one year, researchers assessed each participant’s ability to consume at least 10 times more peanut protein than he or she was able to consume before starting EPIT. 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. In addition, the peanut patches induced immune responses similar to those seen with other investigational forms of immunotherapy for food allergy. Investigators observed greater treatment effects among children aged 4 to 11 years, with significantly less effect in participants aged 12 years and older.

 

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