DBV Technologies’ website boasts a wealth of useful facts and figures about one of the most exciting medical products of recent times – the Viaskin patch. Work on this adhesive patch – designed to diagnose and treat allergies – has been going on for some time, and a number of variants on the Viaskin theme have been developed: Viaskin peanut, cows’ milk protein and now hen’s egg.
The diagram below gives you an idea of how the patch approach works. An electrically-charged spray of protein compounds (allergens) is directed onto the patch backing, where it dries in an even layer. The patch is then applied to the patient’s skin, where a ‘condensation chamber’ effect leads to the allergen solubilizing once again. In this form, it can penetrate the upper epidermis. From here, it enters the Langerhans cells, which results in the activation of the immune system without the antigen having to enter the bloodstream. This is a much safer approach, which should greatly reduce the risk of anaphylaxis. The patch can be worn for as long as desired, and taken off at any time.