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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.

    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 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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