Celiac.com 04/24/2014 - Though some celiacs will tell you they’re content to remain gluten-free for life, being able to freely consume gluten is the dream of many a person with celiac disease.

Photo: CC--Sandra RubioImmusanT is one of the few companies working on an actual vaccine for celiac disease. Over the next few months, ImmusanT is likely to begin reporting data from two separate early-stage clinical trials for NexVax2, a celiac disease vaccine.

That data will offer the first glimpse into the potential for ImmusanT to treat celiac disease, and into the viability of the company’s peptide immunotherapy platform.

The current two studies are Phase 1b trials, designed to confirm the safety of NexVax2, and to find a range of potential doses for the company’s next trials. Success at this stage still means a very long process for ImmusanT, as numerous clinical hurdles remain.

Meanwhile, several other companies trying to find non-vaccine treatments for celiac disease.

Both San Carlos, CA-based Alvine Pharmaceuticals and Baltimore, MD-based Alba Therapeutics, for instance, are developing drugs to supplement an existing gluten-free diet.

Rather than being full-blown vaccines, these drugs are intended to reduce or eliminate adverse gluten-reactions due to simple gluten-contamination.

Another company, Sitari Pharmaceuticals, fueled by $10 million in capital, and a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline and Avalon Ventures, is also looking to pursue treatments for the digestive disorder.

For its part, ImmusanT remains committed to its goal of developing a vaccine that will allow celiac patients to eat all the gluten they want.

The company says its drug is currently the only treatment in development “focusing on disease modification so patients can resume an unrestricted diet.”

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