A global phase 3 clinical trial that included Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago found that year-long immunotherapy through a skin patch safely desensitized toddlers with peanut allergy, lowering the risk of a severe allergic reaction from accidental exposure. 

Results of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for children 1 to 3 years of age, funded by DBV Technologies, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We were excited to contribute to this landmark study that carries so much promise for our young patients with peanut allergy,” says co-author Melanie Makhija, MD, who was the principal investigator of the study at Lurie Children’s and is an associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a release. “Children who originally reacted to a small fraction of a peanut were able to tolerate the equivalent of one to four peanuts after completing the treatment course. This means that these children will be well protected from accidental exposure to peanuts. Importantly, we found that the peanut patch was safe, with very low chances of a severe allergic reaction. This is terrific news for families of kids with peanut allergies.”

Peanut allergy affects approximately 2% of children in the United States, Canada, and other Westernized countries, and it commonly persists into adulthood. Life-threatening allergic reactions can be triggered by unintentional exposure to minute quantities, including through products manufactured on shared equipment. Currently, there are no approved treatments for peanut-allergic children younger than 4 years of age.

Since 2012, the clinical trials program for food allergies at Lurie Children’s has enrolled patients in numerous studies of novel treatments, including the oral immunotherapy for peanuts that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Ongoing trials are available for all age groups, from infancy to young adulthood.