Have you heard about the possibility that peanut allergies could soon be treated with a skin patch? The 'peanut patch' is being developed by researchers at National Jewish Health. The theory is that the patch could desensitize wearers to the protein in peanuts that causes an allergic reaction. By wearing the patch, a tiny amount of peanut protein would come into contact with their skin and enter their bloodstream.
Over time, exposure to small amounts of peanut protein could make those with peanut allergies less sensitive to the allergen. The theory behind this method is similar to the way an allergy shot causes those with seasonal allergies to be less sensitive to pollen in the air.
The adhesive patch holds many potential benefits over conventional ways to treat food allergies. According to Dr. David Fleischer, a Pediatric Allergist at National Jewish Health, food allergies are currently treated with a technique known as oral immunotherapy, in which drops under the tongue are used to desensitize patients to peanut proteins. But if the patch were to become available, it would offer a much more convenient treatment option.
The peanut allergy patch would eliminate the need for repeat office visits to deliver higher doses of food protein drops – the patch could be changed right in the comfort of the patient's home. The allergy patch is currently undergoing clinical tests to test its safety and ability to desensitize patients to peanut allergies. If successful, the peanut patch could be a major advancement in the treatment of food allergies.