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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.



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    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.

    Reference:
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/131745.php



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    The possibility of a vaccine is the first ray of hope I have had since being diagnosed in 2003. My son and great-niece also are celiacs. I would be willing to participate in a study on the vaccine.

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    My experience of Celiac is not as an allergy, but an inability to metabolize gluten from genetically not producing the required enzymes to do so. Compromising of the autoimmune system has seemed more related to the malnutrition which results from this.

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    This is good news. I have had celiac for six years but anyone with Celiac would agree, six years is six years too long as this is a difficult way to live. So, I really hope for a 'cure' soon.

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    Very interesting however my GI did not know anything about it and asked for a copy of the article and I haven't heard from anyone yet even though I replied to the email and signed up for the research.

    Thank you

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams

    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 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. 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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  • Related Articles

    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2002 edition of Celiac.coms Scott-Free newsletter.
    Copyright © 2002 Scott Adams. All rights reserved worldwide.
    Five years ago I became concerned about weakness in my bones after a couple of surprising fractures. At one point, I broke a rib while shingling a storage-shed roof. I leaned across the peak of the roofs ridge to pick up a shingle. I never expected such light pressure to cause a problem, however, I felt a sudden, sharp pain, and heard an odd sound. This, along with a couple of less dramatic, but similar injuries, caused me enough concern to begin looking into the question of celiac disease and bone strength.
    My explorations taught me that calcium absorption probably is not our main problem. People with celiac disease seem to be able to absorb adequate calcium1, but the primary problem appears to come from excreting too much of it, thus causing us to lose more calcium than we are absorbing. I also learned that research shows little or no benefit from calcium supplementation for celiac patients, while magnesium supplementation alone results in significant improvements2. The explanation for this may be that some of the antibodies caused by active celiac disease attack the parathyroid gland3. This organ is an important player in regulating calcium metabolism. Magnesium is necessary for the body to repair the parathyroid and to maintain its continued good function.
    Being convinced by this research, I began to take magnesium supplements without any calcium. I found that I had to be careful. Too much had me visiting the washroom frequently, and I was afraid that too little would fail to provide me the benefits I was seeking.
    At the same time, I also requested a bone density test. I wanted objective information that would allow me to evaluate the progress I hoped to make. The first test was conducted in March of 1997. The results (called "T scores") are reported based on comparison with the density of bones found in young adults. For instance, a score of 0 indicates that the bone density is about the same as would be found in an average young adult. A score in the minus range indicates a bone that has less mineral and more pores than is found in the same young adult. Thus, a score of –1.0 to –2.5 indicates mild mineral losses, while a score of –2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis.
    My test results were not as bad as I had feared. The mineral density in my lower back was normal for my age, at –0.23. However, my upper leg, where it fits into my hip, was reported as –2.02, and my forearm was slightly stronger than that of a normal young adult at +0.19.
    As I saw it, there were only two causes for concern. First, at the tender age of 50, my hips were very close to osteoporotic, and certainly at a substantially increased risk of fracture. Such fractures can be very serious. Secondly, since only three skeletal areas had been tested for mineral density—and since there was such a wide range of density reported for each of these areas, it seemed impossible to estimate the density of the rest of the bones in my body.
    About three years after my first bone density test, some Calgary-based research made me suspect that the amount of vitamin D supplements I was taking might be too low4. I increased my intake to 1,000 IU daily.
    By the fall of 2001, I began to wonder if I was being foolish by avoiding calcium supplements based on the reports I had read. I therefore began to supplement 350 mg of calcium each day.
    In July of 2002, I underwent a second bone scan. They did not test my forearm, but the other two areas appear to have improved substantially. The T score for my lower back was now at + 0.06, and the T score for my hip had improved to –0.72.
    I realize that what I am reporting is just one persons experience. It is what the medical professionals call "anecdotal," and does not usually carry much weight. However, my experience does support the only published research of the impact of mineral supplements on bone density in celiac patients that I can find. Based on my own experience, and the relevant research, I am now convinced that magnesium is the most important supplement to consider in the context of celiac disease. I was thrilled to read my latest bone density report. Vitamin D may also be an important factor, but limitations of time and space force me to leave this topic for another day.

    References:
    Marsh MN. Bone disease and gluten sensitivity: time to act, to treat, and to prevent. Am J Gastroenterol. 1994 Dec;89(12):2105-7. Rude RK, Olerich M. Magnesium deficiency: possible role in osteoporosis associated with gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Osteoporos Int. 1996;6(6):453-61. Kumar V, Valeski JE, Wortsman J. Celiac disease and hypoparathyroidism: cross-reaction of endomysial antibodies with parathyroid tissue. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1996 Mar;3(2):143-6. Embry AF, Snowdon LR, Vieth R. Vitamin D and seasonal fluctuations of gadolinium-enhancing magnetic resonance imaging lesions in multiple sclerosis. Ann Neurol. 2000 Aug;48(2):271-2. Ron Hoggan is an author, teacher and diagnosed celiac who lives in Canada. His new book "Dangerous Grains" is available at Celiac.com.


    Amy Leger
    Celiac.com 12/12/2008 - The tales of diagnois for celiac disease are almost alwaysdramatic: Some people go for years dealing with aches and pains and thinkingthat this is just the way their body was built. I remember feeling that way when my one-year-old was so crabby—walkingaround with her big old “Buddha” belly. Recently, I requested the top threesymptoms from adult and child celiacs to put together a survey of the topsymptoms on my blog. I didn’t ask forthe diagnosis stories, but people offered some insight into the trials andtribulations of getting diagnosed with celiac disease—and eventually leadinga new and healthier life!
    It took a major virus, three doctors, x-rays, blood tests toget to Emma’s diagnosis.One doctor toldme “kids throw up” (once every nine days? Really?), a second opinionrecommended Milicon for her “gassy” tummy. Luckily, it all ended the way it should have, with a diagnosis of celiacdisease that only took about 5 months—which is relatively little compared tosome of the stories you’re about to hear.
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    Miranda Jade
    Celiac.com 02/08/2012 - Having finally being diagnosed with celiac disease myself, I enjoy writing about this autoimmune disease in my gluten-free advocacy work with my mom, Tina Turbin. However, there is a whole other segment of the population who, rather than having celiac disease, have a food sensitivity to gluten. In fact, according to The Food Intolerance Consumer, gluten-sensitive people make up 15% of Americans, whereas celiac disease is currently estimated to exist in 1% of the population. Clearly, in view of its prevalence in the U.S., gluten sensitivity needs to be addressed, but as it turns out, research is showing that an early diagnosis of gluten sensitivity is particularly crucial in preventing celiac disease and other serious health conditions from developing among the gluten-sensitive population.
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    Resources:

    TheGlutenSyndrome.net The Food Intolerance Consumer: Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease Gluten Free Help
    ALCAT: What is Food Sensitivity?
    Early Diagnosis of Gluten Sensitivity: Before the Villi are Gone by By Kenneth Fine, M.D.


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 01/16/2015 - Most people with celiac disease suffer from classic symptoms like weight-loss and diarrhea before diagnosis, right? Wrong. In fact, the most common medical issues for people with celiac disease might really surprise you.
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