DBV Technologies is a firm based in France, specializing in developing medical products. Its main focus at the moment is an allergy treatment called the Viaskin patch. This comes in several different versions, including a peanut allergy treatment which could be used to improve the quality of life of the many people who suffer from this potentially very dangerous allergy.
Immunotherapies are nothing new, and scientists and researchers have been trying for years to develop ways of ‘desensitizing’ people to specific antigens. In the past, injecting patients with very small doses of the antigens that trigger the allergic reaction has been one avenue of research. This has had mixed results, as injecting antigens straight into the bloodstream can be risky.
The patch consists of a titanium backing and adhesive crown, as you can see in the diagram beneath. The backing is sprayed with the antigen, and the crown creates a condensation chamber which solubilizes the antigen, allowing it to enter the body through the skin. This is called the epicutaneous method, which in this case, targets the Langerhans cells, which are very tolerogenic.