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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Would You Try a Vaccine for Celiac Disease?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: CC--Frank Balsinger

    Celiac.com 08/26/2016 - News that ImmusanT company is beginning full human trials for their celiac disease vaccine, NexVax 2, brought a number of comments from our readers.

    We first reported on their effort way back in 2002, with our story, Australian Researchers Begin Work on a Vaccine for Celiac Disease.

    We followed up over the years, with stories in 2009, First Ever Celiac Disease Vaccine Trials Underway in Australia and again in 2011, with articles reporting on the company's efforts to raise investment funds, titled ImmusanT Raises $20 Million in Series A Financing to Advance Immunotherapeutic and Diagnostic for Celiac Disease and on how ImmusanT's Celiac Vaccine Passed Phase I Clinical Trials and in 2012, with Is a Vaccine for Celiac Disease Just Around the Corner?

    Comments generally ran toward the affirmative side, with many people expressing excitement or interest in such a vaccine.

    From Jared M: I hope this research goes well. The bread, crackers and pizza I can live without. But I would really like to be able to drink a good IPA again. The sorghum beers are horrible. I am quickly growing tired of ciders. I would definitely pay for this treatment if it works.

    From Toni: I have celiac. That [a vaccine] would be wonderful.

    From Traci: I would like to be involved in a study for this immunization.

    From Linda Haas: Can't wait to hear more about the progress made on this vaccine...it sounds very promising!

    From Donda: I'm thrilled with the possibility of this coming to market.

    From Muriel Weadick: This is what all celiacs have been waiting for, and I am sure I am not alone in wishing the company success.

    From Suzanne: A vaccine like this would make it easier to eat out and go on vacation.

    Jeanne Burge wrote: I would gladly volunteer for the trials in the US. Hope this works!

    Still, a few comments ran toward the less than glowing side, with some people expressing trepidation, or outright distrust toward such a vaccine.

    From Cathi: 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.

    From Donna: 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!

    From Balm: Thanks but no thanks. I'll remain a celiac and continue to eat healthy. While trying to fix one problem, some will end up with far worse problems.

    From Jonnys: Stupid idea! Just another way to make more money off of people.

    Certainly, those who may have a weakened or compromised immune system should consult with a physician before receiving most vaccines. But, in adults with a healthy immune system, such a vaccine would likely present little or no danger to the recipient. Most people with celiac disease have healthy immune systems, so the likelihood of any adverse reaction will be slight.

    Of course, this is all theoretical, even at this point, as vaccine trials have so far not proven how well the vaccine actually works in preventing or curing celiac disease.

    So, the question is, if such a vaccine is proven safe and effective, would you be open to trying it, or not?

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    This disease has really affected my life in so many ways, all negatively. Many experts say that if you cut out gluten completely, your body will heal itself enough over time that you can reintroduce it into your life. I have found the exact opposite! I have been living gluten-free for the last 6 years, but the other day I took medication for bronchitis and all my celiac symptoms flared up like crazy. Had a look at the ingredients in the antibiotics and found that it contained gluten! What does it help that you look at every food and beverage label and then it gets you where you least expect it?


    If anyone ever does clinical trials in South Africa, I would be the first to sign up!

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    Guest Janelle Slavick


    But wait, isn't a vaccine to prevent disease, not cure or reverse it? So if one already has celiac, a vaccine would not help. Is this trial a prevention or a cure?

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    I don't see how the vaccine would work in someone who is already coeliac - as I am - and indeed I am happy to merely avoid gluten, even if inconvenient. However - my son isn't yet coeliac - and it would be useful for him.

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    I wouldn't try the vaccine. There are naturally occurring opioids in wheat that can affect a person mentally and cause other neurological problems. I´m sure the vaccine wouldn't address that aspect.

    I agree what is wrong with going back to growing wheat and others that have not been genetically altered to produce MORE . Then we would not have this problem. I will not take the vaccine.

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    I think that anyone would like to know possible side effects before trying any vaccine. I suspect a trial is the last place you would be informed - it's part of what they are trying to learn. Like one commenter before, I never eat out. I have been mislead, and the resulting stomach upset and brain fog, not to mention fatigue, lasts for days. Nothing is for everyone, but it is to be hoped that this research helps a great many people. I have too many complications, but would otherwise volunteer for a trial. I don´t eat sweets, but miss the occasional Eccles Cake! Thanks for all of the good information. Keep it coming.

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    I would love to try it! Hopefully it would get rid of the action my thyroid tries to take if it sees gluten in my bloodstream! It would be nice not to break out in a rash each time a tiny bit of gluten gets into my body! It would be wonderful to eat gluten and not be anemic for years to come!

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    I have non responsive celiac and there will be times I'm house bound for a month or more. The Celiac Clinic in Chicago are debating if I should have a nutrient line. Ugh! If a vaccine would help me I would use IT!

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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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