French company DBV-Technologies is currently developing a number of allergy treatments that could radically improve the lives of millions of people around the globe. Allergies now affect a large proportion of the population of the western world. Symptoms can range from the merely uncomfortable – rashes, streaming eyes and noses, vomiting – to the deadly. Hundreds of people die each year as a result of anaphylactic shock after accidently ingesting peanut in the USA alone.
DBV-Technologies’ Viaskin patch treatment is seemingly simple, but could be extremely effective in tolerizing patients to food allergies such as peanut and cow’s milk allergy. The basic idea behind the patch, which releases very small quantities of antigen into the allergy sufferer’s body through the skin, could also be applied to non-food allergies such as house dust mite and pollen.
Even more exciting, the patch approach, in which electrospray technology (see below) plays a key role, could potentially be applied to other medical conditions. The firm is currently talking with a number of partners on how it could be used to treat Crohn’s disease and develop a vaccine for RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).