Thanks to the vigorous research, studies and efforts funded by the National Institutes of Health, a new patch that may be able to cure peanut allergies has been developed.
This wearable patch, according to the National Institutes of Health, works by delivering small amounts of peanut protein through the skin. The one year clinical trial using this new patch showed promising results.
The treatment, called epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT for short), was safe and well-tolerated even with participants using it every day for the entirety of the trial.
Gizmodo reports that the amount of people with a peanut allergy is increasing, particularly here in the United States. It’s now said to affect about 2 percent of all Americans, and that’s dangerous because it’s also the leading food-related cause of anaphylactic shock and death.
The EPIT treatment is reported to be the most beneficial to younger children with the allergy, and a study from 2015 supports this finding, reporting that the allergy could be staved off by introducing peanuts to small children in very small quantities. That’s quite a risk to take, though, considering the consequences of an allergic outbreak. That’s why this EPIT treatment could potentially be so groundbreaking.
“To avoid potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, people with peanut allergy must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter, which can be very stressful,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “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.”
The study itself used 74 volunteers, ages 4-25. After the year was up, success was measured by a participant’s ability to ingest 10 times more of the peanut protein than before. Results showed that children ages 4-11 showed significantly more improvement than those over the age of twelve.
Although this patch will require much more research and many more trials, the results are more than promising.