Desensitizing young children with Peanut Allergy

This is kind of a big deal. We have all heard about peanut allergy and how dangerous a reaction can be. A new skin patch might increase their tolerance of the legume, according to the results of a late-stage clinical trial. It is not 100% protection if exposed or ingested. It does offer protection equivalent to 3-4 peanuts and for children 1-3 years of age. A start to something better.

Just in passing.

Good News for Toddlers with Peanut Allergy, NEJM, Alkis Togias

New England Journal of Medicine: Greenhawt and colleagues report the findings of the EPITOPE (Epicutaneous Immunotherapy in Toddlers with Peanut Allergy) trial, a phase 3, multinational, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Viaskin Peanut 250 μg, a patch that delivers peanut protein to the skin to desensitize young children with peanut allergy.1 The trial involving toddlers 1 to 3 years of age met its clinical end points. and the product. If approved, it could eventually be used in this age grouping. The primary finding is that after receiving treatment with the peanut patch for a year, 67.0% of the toddlers in the intervention group could safely ingest the peanut-protein equivalent of approximately three to four peanuts or approximately one peanut, depending on how sensitive to peanut they were at baseline. In the placebo group, 33.5% of the children reached this end point.

In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of an oral form of peanut allergen immunotherapy for patients 4 to 17 years of age.2 This is the only approved treatment for any form of food allergy. However, published studies suggest that oral immunotherapy with other foods, such as egg and milk, may also be effective. 

Smithsonian offered up a little more detail. “Amazingly, not only did the patch raise the amount of peanut [tolerance] in these children, but the nature of the reaction also changed. There was a decrease in the number of severe reactions,” Matthew Greenhawt, a co-author of the new study and an allergist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, tells NBC News’ Aria Bendix.

The goal of the patch isn’t to eliminate peanut allergies in children. Rather, the hope is that accidental exposures to peanuts will cause a less severe reaction, or none at all, Pharis Mohideen, chief medical officer for DBV Technologies, the company behind the patch, tells NBC News.

Still, the patch “has the possibility of saving a child’s life,” Weily Soong, an allergist at AllerVie Health allergy clinics who was not involved in the study, says to USA Today’s Adrianna Rodriguez.

Peanuts are among the most common food allergens for children in the United States, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Almost 2.5 percent of all U.S. children may be allergic to peanuts and at risk of an allergic reaction that may include hives, nausea, vomiting or shortness of breath. Exposure can also cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.