Peanut allergy? There’s a patch for that

PeanutButter_KidEatsFromJar_Getty-Kidstock_blogThose suffering from peanut allergies may soon find some relief as a new product —similar to a nicotine patch — has been developed to help allergy sufferers significantly increase their peanut tolerance. According to a recent article, the drug, called Viaskin Peanut, recently received special fast-track testing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is slated to enter the market as early as 2018.

The patch, which allows the drug to be absorbed through the skin, will enter phase III clinical trials this year, which will focus on children four to 11 years old. The company also hopes to test its effectiveness on older patients as well in the coming months.

Success of the trial will be measured by how many children who have allergic reaction to 10 mg or less of peanut protein can tolerate at least 300 mg of peanut protein after 12 months of treatment. In addition, the company said it hopes children who can tolerate 10 mg or more of peanut protein at baseline, will be able to tolerate up to 1,000 mg after a year of treatment. The research will also seek to establish how much, or how little, peanut protein it takes to trigger a reaction after a year versus a placebo.

According to a 2010 research paper from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, peanut allergies are considered to be the leading food allergy, affecting roughly 2% of American children, up nearly four-fold since 1997. Additionally, the article states that the market for food allergy drugs could be worth nearly $21 billion a year, according to estimates.

Along with this patch, there is even more hope for peanut allergy sufferers as scientists at North Carolina A & T University discovered a way to remove 98% of the allergen from peanuts without affecting the flavor.

Researchers were able to do this through soaking roasted peanuts that had been shelled and skinned in a solution containing food-grade enzymes. This virtually reduced or eliminated key allergens, The U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) report explained.

More specifically, the process reduced the allergen Ara h1 to undetectable levels and Ara h2 by up to 98%.

These peanuts can be eaten whole, in pieces, or ground into a powder and are ready for product development, as one company has already signed an exclusive licensing agreement for the patented process, the article states.

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