Although the western world enjoys far better general public health than the developing world, there are a few areas where the boot is on the other foot. Western societies seem particularly prone to certain medical conditions, food allergies being one of these.
The researchers at DBV-Technologies (www.dbv-technologies.com) have been studying ways of treating this phenomenon by building up our bodies’ tolerance levels towards certain antigens. This is known as the specific immunotherapy method. In the past, antigens have been injected directly into the patient’s body, or delivered in oral form. These methods all have their drawbacks, which is why DBV-Technologies have created the Viaskin® patch (below).
One of the advantages of this patch is its versatility. This method could potentially be used to treat any allergy with an antigen that can be produced in powdered form and delivered to the body via the patch. The Viaskin peanut patch, as its name suggests, is targeted at peanut allergy sufferers, but similar patches have also been developed to diagnose and treat cow’s milk protein and house dust mite allergies.