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Breakthrough Drug for Peanut Allergies Gets U.S. Testing Approval

The Short of It

A French company received testing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration to conduct late-stage trials on a drug they developed to increase allergy sufferers' tolerance to peanuts.

The Lowdown

DBV Technologies has developed an adhesive skin patch called Viaskin Peanut that, when worn for a year, "appears to educate cells to turn off the allergic reaction" in patients with a peanut allergy, based on earlier testing. Now that the company has received approval to conduct tests in the United States, the Viaskin patch could be available in the U.S. as early as 2018, depending on the success of the trials.

Peanut and tree nut allergies affect 3 million people in the U.S. They tend to develop in childhood and usually are lifelong. Studies show the number of children living with peanut allergies has tripled between 1997 and 2008.

The Upshot

Other researchers have also been searching for a way to combat peanut allergies, including an Australian team who found that giving children with peanut allergies a daily dose of peanut protein and probiotics in increasing amounts for 18 months cured 80 percent of the kids of their allergic reaction. Considering that a peanut allergy is one of the most dangerous and can potentially trigger anaphylaxis and even death, getting closer to a variety of cures could change the lives of many parents and children.

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