LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A pair of Texas Tech chemical engineering professors and a senior research associate in the university’s College of Agricultural Sciences are working to fight peanut allergies.
The three have combined efforts with two doctors with Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital to come up with a treatment for the allergy that affects millions of people worldwide.
Now, their research has been funded by a $3.3 Million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
According to a news release from Texas Tech, the trio hopes to use a small patch, roughly the size of a dime, to infuse the drug onto the skin using ‘microneedles’ - tiny sharp projections that hook into the top levels of the skin. “If peanut allergen is administered through shots, it can cause severe reactions that can even be life threatening. As a result, peanut allergies are not treated with shots." Harvinder Gill, the lead researcher at Texas Tech, explained in the release. “If the allergen is delivered into the superficial layers of the skin, the systemic exposure can be minimized because there are no blood vessels in the very top layers of the skin.”
The patch would be applied for a five-minute period, dissolving the drug into the skin.
Gill is already using microneedles to treat dust mite allergens.
According to the release, if patient response to the research works, it could be applied to other food allergies, such as dairy or shellfish.
Click here to see the full release from Texas Tech.