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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Is a Vaccine for Celiac Disease Just Around the Corner?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 03/30/2012 - A company called Microtest Laboratories is manufacturing doses of what they claim may be the first effective vaccine treatment for celiac disease. At this point, the only treatment for celiac disease is to avoid gluten in the diet.

    Photo: CC-R/DV/RSOther companies are working on vaccines for celiac disease, and several working trials are underway. However, this new drug's creator, ImmusanT, based in Cambridge says that, unlike other vaccines, which prevent an infection, their drug, Nexvax2 works by changing the immune system so it no longer attacks gluten.

    Production on Nexvax2, began last week, Steven G. Richter, Microtest’s president and science director, told a local reporter. So far, ImmusanT has raised $20 million in investor capital to bring the vaccine to market.

    Regarding the path from concept to manufacturing for Nexvax2, Richter says that the process has been anything but straightforward. "It's arty process," he told a local reporter, "you have to develop protocols for all the manufacturing and plans to do all of the work aseptically. You have to get all those protocols and plans approved through the regulatory process. Then you have to do the work.”

    Microtest is initially manufacturing 9,000 vials for ImmusanT: two 3,000-dose batches of vaccine and a 3,000-dose batch of inert placebo to be used in the clinical trial. Richter says that the control group contains everything except the active vaccine.

    ImmusanT is looking to start the first clinical trials in the second quarter of this year by testing the doses on people with celiac disease. The full article, in Massliveonline.com quotes Leslie J. Williams, president and CEO of ImmusanT, as saying that “The test will be if it [the vaccine] induces a tolerance for gluten in the diet."

    The report says that Williams and the company hope to get the vaccine commercially available by 2017. Will the company succeed? Will they have a successful vaccine available in just five short years? Let us know what you think.


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    My thought on this is that we may want to look at the root of the problem - why are people having reactions to gluten? Is it due to the genetic modification of grains or other similar possibilities? If so, I don't think a vaccination may be the best solution. I really feel for those with this problem, as I have an intolarance (not Celiac) so I can relate, but sometimes drugs and quick fixes may not be the best solution. It seems as if there is a lot of research going on to find a drug or vaccine for cancer and other chronic illnesses, but what about stepping back and looking at all of the fake food and other artficial substances we put in our bodies. Everyone wants a quick fix to their problems and I don't know if this is the right perspective.

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    My thought on this is that we may want to look at the root of the problem - why are people having reactions to gluten? Is it due to the genetic modification of grains or other similar possibilities? If so, I don't think a vaccination may be the best solution. I really feel for those with this problem, as I have an intolarance (not Celiac) so I can relate, but sometimes drugs and quick fixes may not be the best solution. It seems as if there is a lot of research going on to find a drug or vaccine for cancer and other chronic illnesses, but what about stepping back and looking at all of the fake food and other artficial substances we put in our bodies. Everyone wants a quick fix to their problems and I don't know if this is the right perspective.

    I agree with you re fake food/artificial substance that goes into bodies daily. A vaccination is just more chemicals going into our bodies. If you have celiac than you must have other allergies too, at least I do and so do all the others with celiac that I know. This is a genetic problem, or so they say, so how do they determine who gets the vaccine and when? Why would anyone want to put more artificial ingredients into their bodies not really knowing what side effects will occur 5-10 years down the road? I suffered long enough before being diagnosed and the last thing I want to do is to take a chance of poisoning myself. All natural food is good enough for me!

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    Totally agree with vhill seems like a ploy to poison people with GMO foods that come up with a supposed "cure". Eat healthy whole foods this is not a curse its a wake up call to be healthy if you didn't have celiac you'd probably be eating processed crap.

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    This would be great. I am very happy to follow a Gluten free diet forever as I am happy with the food that I can create at home. However the thing that makes it hard is getting ill from the tiniest bit of cross contamination from a restaurant or a food that doesn't list gluten in the ingredients. A vaccine like this would make it easier to eat out and go on vacation.

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    This would be great. I am very happy to follow a Gluten free diet forever as I am happy with the food that I can create at home. However the thing that makes it hard is getting ill from the tiniest bit of cross contamination from a restaurant or a food that doesn't list gluten in the ingredients. A vaccine like this would make it easier to eat out and go on vacation.

    Suzanne, I totally agree with you. It's the littlest things that make us sick and we never know where it came from. Yes real pizza and bread would be great. But to not get sick from cross contamination. I would go for that.

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    Good Article. " It works by changing the immune system so it no longer attacks gluten". My Question is, " What will be the side effects of this turning off the body's ability to fight Gluten?" Will there still be destruction some place else and maybe worse? So, many times a pill is created to help one thing only to find out that it created another problem some place else in the body. Frankly, I am worried.

    I agree!

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    Good Article. " It works by changing the immune system so it no longer attacks gluten". My Question is, " What will be the side effects of this turning off the body's ability to fight Gluten?" Will there still be destruction some place else and maybe worse? So, many times a pill is created to help one thing only to find out that it created another problem some place else in the body. Frankly, I am worried.

    Absolutely agree with you, Cathi. There is always a problem and side effects with ANY drug! My question is this: WHAT ELSE will be shut off? Will we be even MORE susceptible to other illnesses? I am worried as well!

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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 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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