Clinical trial enrolling children with peanut allergies to improve immune response

Patch could provide protection against peanut allergies

Patch could provide protection against peanut allergies

A new clinical trial is looking for kids who are allergic to peanuts with the hope the study can give families peace of mind. The innovative immunotherapy uses a patch to expose children to peanuts over time.

The goal is to desensitize the child’s immune system so they have a less severe reaction if exposed to peanuts, according to DBV Technologies, which developed the treatment.

“You’re putting 1/1,000th of a peanut kernel into the body; it’s just minuscule amounts,” said Dr. Pharis Mohideen, the chief medical officer.

A participant’s sensitivity to the nut is tested at the beginning of the trial and after 12 months. Children four to seven years old with a diagnosed peanut allergy can be part of the study.

“Younger patients just have a more mailable and plastic immune system where they just respond better,” Mohideen said. “If and when we’re approved, this will be a game-changer for so many families.”

The Allergy and Asthma Center of Minnesota currently has eight patients enrolled in the study and they’re looking for more, according to Dr. Doug McMahon.

“It’s literally a sticker that goes on the back,” he explained. “Put it on the back, and the next day, parents put a different one on, a different one on, and it gives small amounts of peanuts through the skin.”

There are other immunotherapy options available, including oral immunotherapy.

Margaret Wankum started working with McMahon last year to help her now 2-year-old daughter overcome a peanut allergy.

“Food allergies are really scary, especially peanut,” she said. “I called as quick as I could, I’ll take your first appointment. I was like ‘I want to get this started as soon as I can.’”

Her daughter Evelyn was diagnosed when she was about six months old after breaking out in hives the second time she was exposed to peanuts. She was given microscopic amounts of peanuts orally weekly and the dose was slowly increased. Six months later, she was able to eat peanuts.

“It’s been quite a journey and we really are grateful for Dr. McMahon because this changed our lives,” said Wankum.

The new patch being tested right now is only meant to decrease sensitivity to prevent anaphylactic shock.

“Initial data looks promising,” said McMahon. “Patients should be able to tolerate more peanuts than they originally had.”

Some participants will receive a placebo. Peanut sensitivity will be tested in a controlled environment. According to Mohideen, patients who receive the placebo for the first year of the study will eventually have the opportunity to get the real patch.

More information can be found here.