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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac Disease Vaccine Trials Slated for 2009

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 12/18/2008 - Celiac disease is a life-long autoimmune disease. When people with celiac disease consume the gluten proteins found in wheat, rye and barley they damage the lining of the gut, which prevents normal digestion and absorption of food.

    There is currently no cure for the celiac disease. The only treatment is life-long adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. If a gluten-free diet is not followed, the disease can ultimately lead to ill health and life-threatening conditions including malnutrition, osteoporosis, bowel cancer, and may cause infertility problems.

    The charity group Coeliac UK, recently hosted a conference at the Royal Society of Arts in central London where, among the latest findings in celiac disease research, they announced progress on the development of a possible vaccine for the condition.

    Dr. Bob Anderson of the Autoimmunity and Transplantation Division of Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute has led a research team that has isolated the toxic elements of gluten, paving the way for a possible vaccine that will suppress or prevent gluten toxicity. The research indicates that the toxic, autoimmune response in celiac patients exposed to wheat is triggered by just few dominant peptides in the gluten protein. This small number of offending peptides makes it exponentially easier for researchers to develop a vaccine.

    Dr. Anderson is a joint founder and CEO of Nexpep, an Australian company that is actively working to develop a vaccine to treat celiac disease. Dr. Anderson’s team has created a peptide-based therapeutic vaccine to treat the main problem T-cell epitopes of gluten. The vaccine has the potential to treat at about 80% of people with celiac disease and having the appropriate genetic background. Similar to traditional desensitization therapy for allergies, the peptide-based vaccines are given in multiple small doses over a course of injections in an effort to create immune tolerance not only to the selected gluten fragments, but also lower the toxicity of related toxic gluten molecules.

    Nexpep is currently raising capital for a clinical trial program for a peptide-based therapeutic vaccine and intends to commence a Phase 1 clinical trial in the first half of 2009.


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    Guest Michelle Witham


    Being New Year's Day - our only wish is that a cure will be found for Celiac Disease and with this promising vaccine it gives us hope again for our 9 year old grandson who was diagnosed with both Diabetes type 1 and Celiac at age of 3...keep up the good work and Happy New Year!

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    Thank you so much for bringing the latest international research news to those of us who have gluten intolerance. I suspect it is more up-to-date than what the vast majority of gastroenterologists read.

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    It finally gives me hope! My two very young children who have both Celiac disease and Type 1 Diabetes, may actually get to live a somewhat normal life like other kids. It brings tears to my eyes!!

    THANK YOU !!!!!

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    It would be a blessing that this vaccine would help those with Celiac. My 4 year old daughter was diagnosed at 3 years and 4 months old. She only weighed 21 lbs. and was only 33 inches tall. She is doing great with the acceptance part of having Celiac Disease, but it still breaks her heart when she sees other children in her preschool having snacks that she at one time could eat. I have another daughter who will be 3 next week, but does not have Celiac. This vaccine would be a miracle. As a mom, it breaks my heart to see her tears when she talks about her preschool friends.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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