An experimental toothpaste aims to treat peanut allergies

Peanut allergies are an ever-increasing social, clinical, and financial burden for society in developed countries. Due to the lack of treatments, avoidance continues to be the standard of care, resulting in economic and emotional burdens for patients and caregivers. Peanut allergy concerns have been compounded in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Intrommune Therapeutics, a New York City–based company,
has started trials of an experimental toothpaste on a small group of people allergic to peanuts. The hope is that by being regularly exposed to small doses of the allergen, these people will build up and maintain a natural defense against it.

Oral immunotherapy, one of the current popular treatments against food allergies, requires users to ingest daily doses of the allergen in their daily meals, which can sometimes trigger relatively strong allergic reactions.

Another treatment, sublingual immunotherapy, is a gentler method that delivers microdoses of the allergen in the form of drops placed beneath the tongue. However, this method can more easily be left out of a daily routine, and it’s believed the best immune cells to target for such allergens are in our cheeks, not under our tongue, say the experts working on the toothpaste therapy.

So, using toothpaste with embedded allergens more quickly and easily targets the immune cells in our cheeks. And as brushing teeth is already a regular daily habit, it’s hard to forget to carry out this therapy, which is also offered in smaller doses, thus not triggering strong allergic reactions.

While there is support for the toothpaste concept, some Allergists worry about dose control and safety. When a patient’s gums are sore and inflamed — for example, after dental work or losing a tooth — allergens may have direct access to the bloodstream, which increases the risk of systemic allergic reactions.

INFORMATION on IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE and any information or materials posted are intended for general informational purposes only. Any information posted on the web site is NOT a substitute for medical attention. Please see your health-care professional for medical advice and treatment.