New peanut allergy patch could be a game-changer

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by CBS News

khou.com

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 7 at 6:05 PM

Nearly three million Americans suffer from some form of nut allergy, and one of the most common is a sensitivity to peanuts. For people with a severe peanut allergy, exposure could be deadly.

Now, doctors at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital and 23 other hospitals worldwide are testing what they hope will be a breakthrough treatment. It is a patch that exposes the wearer to small amounts of peanut protein through the skin. Over time, they hope exposure will make the wearer's reaction to peanuts less severe.

"The protein gets into the outer layer of the skin, is taken up by specialized cells, that then take it to the inner parts of the immune system," said Mount Sinai's Dr. Hugh Sampson.

He said the patch contains five grams of peanut protein. "(It) would be the equivalent of eating 20 peanuts."

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