Allergies have been troubling humankind for hundreds of years, so it’s no wonder that people have been trying to find remedies for said allergies for almost as long. At DBV Technologies in the Paris area (www.dbv-technologies.com/en),
researchers are hard at work on developing approaches to treat a number of different allergies and conditions, including peanut allergy, milk allergy and Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Cows’ milk allergy is of particular concern, because it affects quite a substantial proportion of young children (2 to 3%), and is difficult to treat using traditional techniques (injections or drops). The great thing about DBV Technologies’ approach is that it involves a patch called Viaskin, which is simply placed on the skin. So there are no painful injections and no drops that are difficult to administer to small children.
The patch is still being tested, but its basic mechanism of action revolves around the delivery of antigens through the skin and into the Langerhans cells (shown below). The antigens are sprayed upon the patch surface before being solubilized by body heat. As Langerhans cells are amongst the body’s most tolerogenic cells, they are the ideal place to start tolerizing the body to these antigens.