New Skin Patch Safely Treats Peanut Allergy: Study

WASHINGTON: A new wearable patch that delivers small amounts of peanut protein through the skin may safely help treat children and young adults with peanut allergy, a new study has found.

The treatment, called epicutaneous immunotherapy or EPIT, was safe and well-tolerated, and nearly all participants used the skin patch daily as directed, according to the one-year results from an ongoing clinical trial conducted by Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR) in the US.

“One goal of experimental approaches such as epicutaneous immunotherapy is to reduce this burden by training the immune system to tolerate enough peanut to protect against accidental ingestion or exposure,” said Anthony S Fauci, Director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

CoFAR researchers at five study sites randomly assigned 74 peanut-allergic volunteers aged four to 25 years to treatment with either a high-dose (250 microgrammes peanut protein), low-dose (100 micrograms peanut protein), or placebo patch.

They assessed peanut allergy at the beginning of the study with a supervised, oral food challenge with peanut-containing food.

Each day, study participants applied a new patch to their arm or between their shoulder blades.
After one year, researchers assessed each participant’s ability to consume at least 10 times more peanut protein than they were able to consume before starting EPIT.

The low-dose and high-dose regimens offered similar benefits, with 46 per cent of the low-dose group and 48 per cent of the high-dose group achieving treatment success, compared with 12 per cent of the placebo group.

In addition, the peanut patches induced immune responses similar to those seen with other investigational forms of immunotherapy for food allergy.

Researchers observed greater treatment effects among children aged four to 11 years, with significantly less effect in participants aged 12 years and older.

Nearly all of the study participants followed the EPIT regimen as directed. None reported serious reactions to the patch, although most experienced mild skin reactions, such as itching or rash, at the site of patch application.

The finding was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.