A tiny skin patch may soon help treat peanut allergies, according to a new study published last week in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The Viaskin peanut patch, called epicutaneous immunotherapy, would deliver small doses of peanut protein to users, building their cellular tolerance to nuts.
The study showed that nearly half of the 74 peanut-allergic volunteers treated with higher doses of the peanut protein over the course of a year were able to consume at least 10 times more as compared to before the treatment.
According to researchers, the patch was most effective for children ages 4 to 11 and significantly less effective for older patients.
Other recent advances have relied on an oral route that appears difficult for approximately 10 to 15 percent of children and adults to tolerate.
Breakdown of the trial
The trial was conducted at five research sites, according to CNN. Those sites included: Arkansas Children's Hospital, the National Jewish Health Center in Denver, Johns Hopkins University, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
So far, volunteers have been observed for a year, but researchers will continue monitoring them for a total of two and a half years.
For the trial, participants were divided into three groups: a placebo group whose patches didn't contain the peanut protein, a second group that wore patches with 100 micrograms of the protein and a third group that wore patches with 250 micrograms of the protein.
Before beginning the study, each volunteer participated in an oral food challenge so researchers could assess their peanut allergy.
Dr. Stacie M. Jones told CNN the median amount of nuts the participants could tolerate was about one-seventh of a peanut.
After the assessment, participants were given a quarter-sized patch to wear on the inside of their upper arms or on their backs, depending on their ages.
The patches were replaced daily throughout a 52-week period.
Although the trial found that immunotherapy was "potentially effective," researchers say the study is limited and it needs to be more thoroughly investigated.
WATCH| For the news you need, check out our 60 Second Circa.