Epicutaneous immunotherapy may sound like a bit of a mouthful, but in reality it’s a simple concept. It involves helping people to develop greater tolerance levels towards substances to which they are allergic (antigens), without injecting those antigens directly into the patient’s bloodstream.
The DBV Technologies internet site expands on this approach, which takes concrete form in the shape of the Viaskin patch. This patch is central to the epicutaneous approach, as it’s worn upon the skin. Consisting of a metal backing, a breathable layer and an adhesive crown next to the skin, the patch is covered with tiny particles of protein (antigens), which are sprayed evenly upon the backing by electrosprays (shown in the photograph below). A ‘condensation chamber’ forms, and the now dry layer of proteins becomes soluble again and able to penetrate the skin. This approach is better than relying on old-fashioned injections for several reasons. Most importantly, the likelihood of anaphylaxis during treatment is greatly reduced. Also, because this solution isn’t painful at all, it is suitable for treating children and babies.