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Skin patch shows promise in toddlers with peanut allergies

16 May 2023
  • An international trial has found that an experimental skin patch can reduce sensitivity to peanuts.
  • Irish children were involved in breakthrough trial for peanut allergy.
  • The findings give new hope for toddlers with peanut allergies and their families.

A wearable patch could prevent severe allergic reactions in toddlers with peanut allergies, according to the results of a promising clinical trial.

Researchers at University College Cork (UCC) collaborated with scientists in the French biopharmaceutical firm DBV Technologies and institutions around the world to conduct a trial of the Viaskin Peanut patch in children ages 1 through 3 years old who had been diagnosed with a peanut allergy.

The late-stage trial found that after wearing the experimental patch around 22 hours a day for a year, 67% of children were able to tolerate 300 to 1,000 milligrams of peanut protein – the equivalent of one to four peanuts.

In Ireland, the trial was led the HRB Clinical Research Facility (CRF-UCC) at UCC. The findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Peanut allergy is the most common food allergy in children in Europe, with growing prevalence and impact on patients, families, and healthcare systems. Despite this burden, there are limited treatment options for peanut allergy and no CE approved options for children younger than 4 years of age.

Viaskin Peanut, a form of EPIT, has the potential to offer a new and breakthrough science that modifies an individual’s underlying food allergy by re-educating the immune system to increase tolerance to allergens.

Dr Juan Trujillo, Paediatric Allergist in Cork University Hospital, Principal Investigator of the trial in Ireland, Lead Investigator at INFANT Research Centre and CRF-UCC, said: “The Allergy research centre in UCC and CUH has been one of the top recruiters of this clinical trial worldwide, positioning us one of the biggest centres of peanut immunotherapy research in Europe. These results are encouraging and give new hope to toddlers and their families who currently have no approved treatment options and who must instead focus on avoidance, which can impact quality of life.”

“It is only through clinical trials we will be able to determine if new treatments are effective and safe in young patients with peanut allergies. Our commitment with this type of treatment with the support of CRF-UCC, INFANT and the department of paediatrics and child health has allowed us to get new clinical trials and support for further projects to come,” Dr Trujillo added.

Congratulating Dr Trujilo, Professor Ivan Perry, Director of UCC’s Clinical Research Facility, said: “This is why the CRF-UCC was established: to facilitate and support outstanding, patient focused research with global impact in UCC and its affiliated Hospitals in the South and South-West Hospital Group. The HRB-CRF-UCC provides the dedicated infrastructure and experienced research staff working to the required international quality standards that are critical for the successful conduct of patient-focused research.”


University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF