Treating Peanut Allergies With a Patch

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Could the next form of treatment for peanut allergies come in the form of a patch? Researchers at the National Jewish Health are investigating whether a 'peanut patch' is a viable and safe method of treating those with peanut allergies, reports Physorg.com (http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-peanut-allergy-patch.html).

In theory, the patch would work by desensitizing patients through exposing them to peanut protein. Delivered through a patch placed on the skin, this method is similar to the way allergy shots make those with seasonal allergies less sensitive to pollen.

Dr. David Fleischer, a Pediatric Allergist with National Jewish Health, commented on the potential benefits of the patch over conventional food allergy treatments: “We currently treat food allergy using oral immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy or drops under the tongue, but if this patch proves successful, it would likely be a much more convenient treatment option for patients and their families.”

Those working on the patch hope that it could be administered at home, avoiding the need for repeated office visits so that patients undergoing immunotherapy can receive progressively higher doses of food protein.

Right now, the peanut patch is going through safety testing. If successful, the next step is a clinical trial to test the patch's ability to desensitize allergic patients. While Dr. Fleischer admits that the peanut patch has a long way to go before it is deemed a viable and safe allergy treatment, he also said “This is potentially a very exciting advance in the treatment of food allergies.”

By liseetsa on Fri, 03-04-11, 16:32

As someone whose son is in oral desensitization with a private doctor--out of the Duke study--this entire project angers me. I would like to be excited that they are sinking millions (25 to be exact) into finding a cure. However, they are looking for a product to sell. Peanut flour is cheaper than the dirt in which the peanuts are grown. There is no way to capture the doses in a pill form or a pharma company would be promoting OTI. And when you increase a potentially deadly dose of an allergen, I would HOPE you would be in a doctor's office. This is not drive-through fix your anaphylaxis. A doctor must observe the condition of the child/patient on the day before the dose is increased. They listen to their hearts, observe their nasal membranes, ears, throat, skin, eyes, etc... to make sure they are in perfect health before administering the increase. Not only does the patch sound terribly convenient for pharma companies, it knocks the ever-so-crucial doctor out of the loop. Also, Jewish-National is responsible for the only fatality associated with desensitization when the gave a patient the "real thing" instead of the placebo they had been on. I believe it was the "injectible" study so of course there was no chance of reversing the reaction. Bad news. Waste of time and money. And who would sign up for this anyway. A patch on a child? One parent told me his daughter would rip it off, color it, stick it in her mouth, lose it?
What IS exciting is oral desensitization (for those who do not have EE). It has been proven "safe and effective" and as long as the patient and the doses are carefully monitor, there should be little to no reactions. But no one is going to get SUPER rich from it until they can figure out how to package it in a pill form. Until then, we will need doctors. For shame...

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