Published on May 30, 2011 with 0 comment
Just today, the Daily Mail reported that two French pediatricians have developed a peanut patch that has the potential to “cure” thousands of individuals who have severe peanut allergies. Today’s report comes several months after researchers at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver disclosed that they are studying the effectiveness of a peanut patch as a means to desensitize peanut allergic patients. This exciting research comes on the heels of several years of progress in the treatment of peanut allergy and other food allergies. The availability of a patch would be an excellent therapeutic option for many patients.
Similar to oral desensitization, or oral induction of tolerance, small amounts of peanut protein would be placed on the skin under a patch. Over time, the dose of exposure would increase to a level equivalent to the amount of protein eaten during an accidental ingestion. If this amount of tolerance is reached, then the fear of an accidental ingestion of peanut would be greatly reduced. This process is similar to nicotine patches used to eliminate the addition to nicotine and smoking.
Research is in its early stages, but it is quite promising. We are not likely to have the opportunity to treat patients with the peanut patch for years to come, but it does offer great hope for those who live in fear of a serious allergic reaction to foods.