Sometimes solutions to big problems come in small packages, and this could well be the case for DBV-Technologies’ Viaskin® patch. The company’s website www.dbv-technologies.com/en/ provides a fascinating window onto the development of this exciting new technology, which is being developed in three main areas – peanut allergy, house dust mite and cows’ milk protein allergy (http://www.dbv-technologies.com/en/viaskin-products/viaskin-milk ).
The basic principle behind each of the three versions of the patch is the same, as can be seen in the diagram below. The patch is covered in an active compound, i.e. the allergen creating the problem), before being stuck to the skin. A special condensation chamber hydrates the skin and paves the way for the allergens to penetrate the epidermis and reach the Langerhans cells. These are amongst the body’s most tolerogenic cells, meaning that they are the safest destination for any allergen being introduced to the body with the aim of desensitizing the patient to said allergen. The patch technique has the potential to be expanded to treat or diagnose other allergies too – so watch this space!