Often it’s the simplest ideas that can have the biggest impact. DBV-Technologies is definitely hoping this will be the case with their Viaskin® patch, pictured below. This small adhesive patch may not look like the most technologically-advanced piece of medical equipment you’ve ever seen, but it represents what may be a genuine breakthrough in the field.
The patch contains minute quantities of the antigen to which the patient would like to become ‘densensitized’ or ‘tolerized’. It is designed to hydrate the skin effectively, which greatly facilitates the take-up of the allergen through the skin and into the Langerhans cells located in the upper epidermis. These cells are ideal for the purpose of immunotherapy treatments, being the body’s most tolerogenic antigen presenting cells. There are dedicated sections for the specific allergies targeted by the Viaskin® patch approach. These include cow’s milk protein allergy (http://www.dbv-technologies.com/en/products/allergy-treatments/viaskin-cows-milk/), house dust mite allergy and peanut allergy. The latter is particularly dangerous, as it can result in severe anaphylactic shock. In fact, in the United States alone, allergic reactions to peanuts causes over 100 deaths each year.