DBV Technologies, a French company based in Paris, is currently developing a new method of treating and diagnosing allergies through the skin, with the aptly named Viaskin patch. Epicutaneous immunotherapy is not new, but DBV Technologies has harnessed a whole range of cutting-edge equipment to make it more effective than ever before.
The theory is a simple one, explained in the dedicated section at http://www.dbv-technologies.com/en/epit. It essentially focusses on tolerizing or desensitizing the body to a given allergen by delivering very small quantities of this allergen through the skin, rather than directly into the bloodstream, which is what happens with injection treatments. This is a far safer approach, because it involves interaction with some of the body’s most tolerogenic cells of all, the Langerhans cells, which are located in the epidermis.
The Viaskin patch, which is depicted below, is composed of an adhesive crown, a titanium backing with a layer of antigens, and a breathable over-adhesive. Worn against the skin, it creates a ‘condensation chamber’, ideal conditions for solubilizing the antigens and enabling them to pass through the skin to their final destination in the Langerhans cells.