Good news is in store for the estimated three million Americans with a peanut allergy.
A new patch called Viaskin, made by French company DBV Technologies, may help cure peanut allergies if it passes its clinical trial, reported Fast Company.
The Viaskin patch is a form of immunotherapy, which works by gradually exposing the allergen to patients who normally recoil from it. The slow exposure allows the patient's body to learn how to react to the peanut.
This process has been used in the past, but it is dangerous and requires a lot of supervision.
The Viaskin patch is allegedly safer because of the way it delivers the peanut allergen to the body. It works by extracting the membrane with an electrostatic charge and is releases it as it comes into contact with body sweat, reported Fast Company.
Young children will wear the patch on their back, while adolescents and adults will put it on their upper arms - similar to a nicotine patch.
The first clinical trial of Viaskin was conducted by DBV Technologies at five leading centers in the United States and included 100 subjects. The results were "satisfactory," according to the company's website. They reported the findings to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 15, 2011 and released the complete results at the EAACI Congress in June 2012.
If the patch passes its clinical tests it could become a revolutionary way to treat patients with a peanut allergy. Peanuts are the leading cause of severe food allergic reactions, according to Medicine Net.
At least one-third of people with peanut allergies have severe reactions, such as fatal and near-fatal anaphylaxis - anaphylactic deaths in asthmatic patients.
Pierre-Henri Benhamou, CEO of DBV Technologies, told Fast Co Exist that he hopes the patch will fully cure some sufferers and lessen the reactions of those with a more severe allergy. At the very least, he expects the patch to decrease the number of people who die from accidental peanut exposure.
The Viaskin patch is set to enter the final stage of clinical trials and should be on the U.S. market by 2018.