Big news for campers interested in a treatment for peanut allergyJanuary 19, 2016
Actually, it’s not just exciting news for campers — it’s exciting for just about anyone who has a peanut allergy, or loves someone with this medical condition! A team of reserachers may have developed an effective treatment for peanut allergy in the form of a wearable patch, and it has just been approved for stage III of its clinic trial.
Here’s the latest information that we’ve found:
In April 2015, the Viaskin Peanut patch made by French company DBV Technologies was awarded a breakthrough therapy designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The designation is intended to accelerate the development and review of treatments of serious conditions. It came after a Phase IIb multicenter clinical trial showed the patch increased the amount of peanut required to trigger an allergic reaction by at least tenfold (I added the bold type face).
The Viaskin Peanut patch administers peanut protein directly into the skin, where it activates an immune response without releasing antigens into the blood. Langerhan cells then transport the peanut protein into the lymph nodes where immune activity takes place. The intact proteins never enter the bloodstream, thereby reducing the chance of allergic reaction.
Dr. Stephen Tilles, a physician partner at Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center and executive director of the ASTHMA, Inc. Clinical Research Center, oversaw the study in nine Seattle-area participants. He works with the Seattle Food and Allergy Consortium (SeaFAC), which is dedicated to developing new allergy therapies.
Tilles said he hopes to enroll up to 20 subjects in the Seattle-area Phase III of the Viaskin Peanut patch trial. He anticipates the trial will be completed by mid-2017, and by 2018 “it’s possible there could be an FDA-approved treatment for peanut allergy, which is a big deal.”
As Dr. Tilles notes in this article, this patch will not eliminate a person’s allergy to peanuts, but rather, will hopefully give them a greater chance of avoiding an anaphylactic reaction as they go through life.
“It is unlikely that an FDA approved peanut patch will eliminate risk for peanut allergic patients, but if it reduces sensitivity such that accidental ingestion does not cause serious reactions it will be a big breakthrough. This is because many peanut allergic patients really are not that interested in eating peanuts. Rather, they live in fear of what will happen if they accidentally eat some. If the Viaskin patch significantly reduces the risk that small amounts of peanut will cause serious reactions, it will be huge.”
As a summer camp dedicated to providing a safe home for children and young adults with all kinds of food allergies, we are incredibly excited about this news. We will continue to monitor the progress of this clinic trial and keep all of our campers, parents, counselors and alumni informed.