A newly developed skin patch could help children who have a deadly peanut allergy.
New figures show youngsters who once faced the threat of a fatal reaction from the tiniest amounts of peanut protein can snack on the nuts after wearing the patch for a year. The stick-on patch, which could help thousands of children in the UK, is packed with tiny traces of peanut protein. Worn on the arm or back, it allows minute amounts of the protein to gradually seep through the top layers of the skin. It then comes into contact with immune system cells which would normally trigger a life-threatening overreaction.
But the proteins are in such tiny quantities that the immune cells slowly get used to their presence, learning to recognise peanuts so that they are no longer a threat. As a result, the body’s defences stop overreacting when they come into contact with peanuts. The patch, about the size of ten pence piece, is undergoing trials involving more than 200 patients with severe peanut allergies.
The first results from one of the trials, involving children aged five to 17, show that many are able to build up tolerance to peanuts after wearing one for 12 to 18 months. The volunteers wear a peanut patch or an identical dummy one, changing it for a new one every day. After 12 months, at least 20 per cent of the children were consuming more than ten times the amount of peanut protein they were able to tolerate at the start of the study.
Source - Daily Mail