Patch the size of 50p piece cures peanut allergies
PEOPLE with life-threatening peanut allergies could potentially cure their condition by wearing a patch, research suggests.
Gradually acclimatising the body to the protein that triggers allergic reactions left sufferers in a year-long trial able to tolerate 10 times the quantity they previously could.
Experts have hailed the research, conducted on patients aged between six and 55, as evidence of real hope for peanut allergy sufferers.
The condition affects roughly one in 50 people in the UK and exposure to peanuts can trigger symptoms ranging from a mild rash to potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. The bulk of previous research into treatments to build up tolerance has focused on giving patients the allergen orally; however, there have been fears about the risk of severe allergic reaction and the short-term nature of the benefit.
The patients who used the Viaskin Peanut patch, which is about the size of a 50p piece, experienced only mild localised rashes.
After 12 months, 50 per cent of those wearing the strongest of one of three patches of various dosage experienced a 10-fold increase in tolerance compared with those using a placebo.
Researchers who led the 221-patient trial at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York want to replicate the technique in a broader exercise to determine the optimum dosage.
Holly Shaw, from Allergy UK, said: “Peanut allergy is one of the most common causes of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, and for those living with peanut allergy on a day-to-day basis having hope of one day being free from this burden would be life-changing. This clinical trial contributes towards a growing body of preliminary research into epicutaneous immunotherapy for treating peanut allergy and is one step further towards developing a much-needed safe and effective treatment to address the increasing prevalence of food allergy.”
People suffering from a peanut allergy are required to carry adrenalin auto-injectors, such as an Epipen, at all times.
Any pre-packed food or drink sold in the UK must clearly state on the label if it includes peanuts, while restaurants must provide information to customers in writing or orally. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.