Peanut allergies are one of the leading causes of food allergies in the western world.
Eyewitness News looked into a new drug that could potentially allow those with peanut allergies to consume that protein again.
Out of the 15 million Americans who have reported some kind of food allergy, there are 3 million who are allergic to peanuts. The latest numbers signify that it is a growing problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the amount of reported food allergies among children, under age of 18, increased significantly from 1997 to 2007. To read the full study, click here.
“We don't know the reason, the clear reason,” allergy specialist, Dr. Elif Dokmeci, of Yale-New Haven Hospital, said. “But we might speculate that sometimes avoidance might trigger more allergies in people.”
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for peanut allergies. But there's a new treatment researchers are looking into that may completely change the quality of life of kids who are living with these allergies.
“It's very similar to the idea of a nicotine patch,” Dokmeci said.
The French company DBV Technologies developed the drug known as Viaskin Peanut, which comes in the form of a patch.
“The idea is that through skin people, who are allergic to peanut, get desensitized to peanut protein with the controlled dose,” Dokmeci said.
A controlled and very small dose of 250 micrograms is needed per patient. To read the full study, click here.
“The antigen enters into the blood stream through capillaries,” Dokmeci said.
So far, studies have shown that this patch can build-up protective antibodies against the peanut allergen in the participants.
“And they also were able to tolerate eating 4 peanuts (which is like 1 gram of peanut) at the end of the treatment--at the end of one year,” Dokmeci said.
This peanut patch is on the fast-track for FDA approval. If all goes well with phase III of clinical trials, this product could be available to Americans in early 2018.
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