Patch the size of 50p piece cures peanut al­ler­gies

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Henry Bod­kin

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.

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