You may have recently seen disturbing headlines regarding the Peanut Patch treatments, or read an article that said it failed. Many are worried that this is the end of the Peanut Patch–that it will never make it out of clinical trials, much less into your local allergist’s office, and a lot of people have expressed sadness and disappointment in online discussions.
If this is how you’re feeling, please relax. Nothing has failed.
The Peanut Patch is a new, experimental treatment for peanut allergies, made by DBV Technologies
. Allergic patients wear a patch on the skin, which contains a small amount of peanut protein. The patient’s sweat dissolves the proteins and carries it into the skin and to they lymph system, bypassing the bloodstream. Patches are changed daily and are rotated through multiple spots on the skin, in order to always be placed on unbroken skin. Over time this process, called Epicutaneous Immunotherapy, has shown promising signs that it will desensitize most patients to their allergens. Localized skin reactions are common, but the risk of more serious reactions is extremely low.
This isn’t a “cure” or a “vaccine”–patients are still allergic, but the amount of allergen it takes to cause a reaction will go up, making the world a much safer place. The peanut patch is still in clinical trials and is being evaluated–though it has received both “fast track” and “breakthrough” status by the FDA. DBV is also developing milk and egg patches, with the hope that more will follow.
The recent media (and stock market) hoopla came because DBV recently released data from the first year of one of their research studies. Some of that data is not what they expected–and unfortunately, it is being misrepresented and sensationalized by the media.
Is anybody really surprised to see the mainstream media report incomplete or even downright incorrect information on food allergies? I’m not. After all, how many times have we in the food allergy community fended off people asking us “when are you going to get your kid cured already??” after a study for a promising therapy makes headlines like “Peanut Allergy Cure is Here!” We have to tell everybody to calm down because one study doesn’t mean something is widely available (not to mention is far from being a “cure.”)
This is no different. It just went in the other direction. Here’s what really happened:
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