There has been a dramatic increase in the number of children living with a peanut allergy in recent decades. In fact, studies show that the number of kids affected by this major food allergy tripled between 1997 and 2008.
The "Viaskin" patch works by delivering a low dose of peanut protein through the skin. Researchers say training the body to tolerate small doses of the allergen in this way (a treatment method known as epicutaneous immunotherapy) was found to be safe and effective, especially in younger children.
Protects against peanut exposure
One year later, the researchers tested the volunteers to see if their peanut tolerance had changed -- and if so, how much. Findings showed that those who had been given the low-dose and high-dose patches experienced similar benefits.
"The clinical benefit seen in younger children highlights the promise of this innovative approach to treating peanut allergy," said Daniel Rotrosen, M.D., director of NIAID's Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation (DAIT).
Easy to use
"The high adherence to the daily peanut patch regimen suggests that the patch is easy-to-use, convenient and safe," said Marshall Plaut, chief of DAIT's Food Allergy, Atopic Dermatitis and Allergic Mechanisms Section.
The full study is published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.