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.
New Zealand and Australia's phase 1b randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study will follow on the prior phase 1 trials and involve approximately 84 celiac disease patients on gluten-free diet at four study sites throughout the two countries. The focus of the study will be on evaluating safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics (what the body does to the drug), as well as determining appropriate doses for subsequent studies.
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.