Many methods have been experimented with to try to tackle the vexed issue of food allergies. These allergies are becoming increasingly prevalent – where once it was hay fever, now peanut, cow’s milk protein, fish, seafood and eggs are causing big problems right across the globe. At DBV-Technologies (http://www.dbv-technologies.com/en/), much research has gone into looking at how to develop non-invasive solutions, turning away from traditional techniques like injections into the bloodstream. Non-invasive solutions are also likely to be less distressing to babies and young children. This is especially important in the case of cow’s milk protein allergy, which affects substantial numbers of children under the age of three.
The search for an effective peanut allergy treatment has also been a real driver behind DBV Technologies’ work. The French firm believe they may just have found the key to the problem in the shape of a patch called Viaskin. As its name suggests, it works by delivering antigens to the immune system through the skin. This desensitization technique is well-placed to work, because some of the body’s more tolerogenic cells are the Langerhans cells (shown below), which are sited in the skin itself.