You may not have heard of epicutaneous immunotherapy, but a quick look on the DBV Technologies website will help you to see just why people are getting excited about the possibilities represented by this French company’s new treatment.
The Viaskin patch uses an epicutaneous approach (http://www.dbv-technologies.com/en/epit). This essentially means that it releases minute quantities of allergens into the body through the epidermis in an effort to get the body used to the offending substance causing the allergic reaction. This process is called ‘desensitization’ or ‘tolerization’. The patch (pictured below), is relatively small and is simply stuck to the patient’s skin. In theory, any number of different allergens could be delivered via the patch. At the moment, DBV-Technologies is working on a few key allergies, namely house dust mite, peanut and cow’s milk protein, which affects upwards of 1 in 35 children and babies in certain parts of the world. The patch is particularly suited to this demographic since it is painless to apply – unlike the injection of antigens into the body, which is distressing for parents and children alike.