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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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    I posted a link to this article on a celiac facebook page I belong to and the initial response was very positive. Several people want to volunteer for the trials, for the sake of their children. There was some controversy about how they are actually doing the clinical trials knowing that there is a possibility your are 'poisoning' yourself by eating gluten while on the vaccine (which may be a placebo). Curious as to how the drug companies are handling the testing with an oath of not to cause harm.

    I'm thrilled with the possibility of this coming to market. I agree that the introduction of a new treatment may include the potential for side effects. However, with the advancements in genetics, it's likely that the "vaccine" would target only the reaction to gluten. It will be interesting to read further about the science behind the process. In reference to the question about the oath to do no harm, just to share, that oath was originally made to various Greek gods and has been adapted over the years to include various terms including "keeping the best interest of the patient". In that regard, some may choose to say that a small group who volunteers for the clinical trial in order to ensure that millions of others can be protected, is a form of keeping the best interest of the patient. I would volunteer in order to allow my two children to have the option to avoid cross contamination even while maintaining a gluten-free diet. Kudos to the researchers and company! Fear not, we will pay for the “vaccineâ€. If you want to boost shareholders' value you can start a waiting list for the “vaccine†to show the investors the level of interest. (I want to ensure funding stays strong on the project!) You could also consider expanding the waiting list by offerring a referral credit. I'd advise lobbying insurance companies now so it will be covered sooner. Speak their language, show them the costs avoidance that would result from the treatment of related complications such as Type 1 Diabetes and other autoimmune diseases that often follow the development of celiac disease.

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    I think this is wonderful. I would take this in an instant over the headache of eating gluten-free all the time. I cannot stand having to be so cautious. Life is so much more than food and having to think so much about how to eat "safe" is something I would love to be cured of.

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    My son was just diagonosied with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease in the same month. He's only 8 years old. It breaks my heart every day for what I have to do to him just to keep him healthy... My husband and I wish this or something comes in his lifetime so he can have a life like he knew for the first 8 years of his life. I'm very excited to see what comes in the future. Thanks for all the research...

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    The food we eat is due to social arrangements, thus I see coeliac disease as caused by the fact western diets choose to shove gluten in everything. It is similar to the social model of disability. I personally am happy to stick to eating healthy gluten free foods and not to risk taking vaccines for which no one knows the long term effects.

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    I'm pleased, and seriously hope this vaccination does make it; I have a 4 year old nephew with celiac disease, and it's heartbreaking seeing him not eat normal food like the rest do.

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    I hope this happens! I want to know how and where I can get this. I suffer with this as well as thyroid problems and to cure my celiac disease would mean the world to me.

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    What is wrong with all the whiners saying it wont work and that they'd rather stay eating gluten-free only? Let's be honest: we'd all much rather eats a nice piece of bread as part of our sandwiches over a dry crumbly thing that just falls apart. Be positive!

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    I would gladly be part of the study. I feel like a hermit now that I can't freely go out to eat. So much of our socializing revolves around eating. Our very short vacation was very difficult. To have to question every food item and be so cautious about everything I eat is embarrassing. I thought my symptoms were due to stress from being laid off and never even suspected celiac, but it was diagnosed by endoscopy and blood test. I don't like to call attention to myself, but there is no way to avoid that with celiac. I'm 59 and just diagnosed. I don't have the horrible gastrointestinal problems so many have, but do have other physical symptoms, mostly feeling "ditsy", flushed, forgetful and irritable, in addition to GERD. I can't wait to get back to normal and would take a vaccine in a skinny minute.

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    This is unbelievable, do you guys think this is going to happen? I'm excited for this, I'll be doing research on this everyday if I have to. I doubt it will happen but reading this gave me hope.

     

    I would just donate my body to test all of these things to find a cure for celiac disease. I wish I was one of the people tested. Hopefully in the future there will be a cure for all of us.. give it your best Microtest Laboratories.

    This vaccine sounds hopeful but if you have celiac now have you tried Digestacure? Many people got cured. It is made from aloe Vera plant and it help with all immune diseases. It heals the intestines the root cause.

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    This vaccine sounds hopeful but if you have celiac now have you tried Digestacure? Many people got cured. It is made from aloe Vera plant and it help with all immune diseases. It heals the intestines the root cause.

    This product cannot cure celiac disease or any other autoimmune disease.

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    I have celiac. That would be wonderful. I have gained weight and there is no explanation.

    You have gained weight , because your body is finally absorbing calories (Assuming, of course that you are adhering to a strict gluten-free diet).

    When my daughter was diagnosed and we eliminated gluten, She started making incredible strides in growth and weight gain.

    It's actually a good sign.

     

    Now if you haven't followed strict diet, you could simply be eating enormous amounts of food, trying to soothe an upset stomach. That too will cause weight gain.

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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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