Peanut Patch
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Peanut butter and jelly sandwichDave, maybe a new therapy will re-crown PB and Js as the staple of school lunches! It was my easy go-to growing up. That’s a tall order because as many as a quarter of kids with food allergies have a peanut allergy. But freeing these kids of their allergy would improve their lives because it’d take their fear away.

But there's a promising new product that may help. It’s a patch, called Viaskin, which delivers small amounts of peanut protein through the skin.

In clinical trials, it delivered a high dose of 250 milligrams or a low dose of 100 milligrams randomly to two groups of people aged four to 25. A third group got a placebo. New patches were applied daily on the arm or between the shoulder blades. After one year, researchers tested the participants’ tolerance for at least ten times the amount of peanut protein they could tolerate before the treatment.

Forty-six percent of the low dose group and forty-eight percent of the high dose group could tolerate that as compared with twelve percent of the placebo groups. Treatment of kids aged 4 to 11 were significantly more successful than those 12 years or older. There were no serious reactions to the patches, just some mild skin irritations.

That’s encouraging especially for the ten to fifteen percent of people who can not tolerate the oral immunotherapy treatments available on the market now. For decades immunotherapy to treat environmental allergies were practiced, but only in the 1980s did Europeans start using it for food allergies. Since then many studies have shown that children could be safely desensitized to food allergens including milk, eggs and more recently, peanuts.

Maybe one day, school cafeterias will be safe again no matter what’s on the menu.

For more information…

Skin patch to treat peanut allergy shows benefit in children
NIH-funded study suggests patch is safe, convenient mode of treatment.

Peanut allergy
Peanut allergy occurs when your immune system mistakenly identifies peanut proteins as something harmful. Direct or indirect contact with peanuts causes your immune system to release symptom-causing chemicals into your bloodstream.

The Prevalence of Tree Nut Allergy: A Systematic Review
Tree nuts are one of the most common foods causing acute allergic reactions and nearly all tree nuts have been associated with fatal allergic reactions.