Celiac.com 09/10/2012 - Last year, ImmusanT's Nexvax2 celiac disease vaccine passed its phase 1 clinical trials in Australia and New Zealand, causing a stir of hope and anticipation within the celiac disease community. It will still be a while before the vaccine is available to the public, but yesterday ImmusanT announced that it commenced phase 1b clinical trials in New Zealand and Australia and phase 1 clinical trials in the U.S.
In the U.S., the phase 1 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study will involve 30 celiac disease patients on gluten-free diet at approximately four test sites throughout the country. This preliminary study will evaluate safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of the drug for American subjects.
Patients in both studies will have confirmed diagnosis of celiac disease, as well as the HLA-DQ2 gene (which approximately 90% of celiac disease sufferers carry). Blood tests for gluten-reactive T cells will also be used to select suitable test subjects.
The studies will employ an intradermal injection vaccine delivery solution by BD.
The Nexvax2 vaccine is intended to restore the body's ability to tolerate gluten. It is hoped that antigen-specific T cells will be the key to allowing patients to consume gluten freely with no adverse effects. If all goes well during this and subsequent clinical trials, we could have a cure for celiac disease in the not-too-distant future.