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The Role of Zonulin and Intestinal Permeability in Celiac Disease

Celiac.com 11/08/2005 - Today a team of scientists at Alba Therapeutics Corporation (Alba) and the University of Maryland School of Medicine reported a direct link between gluten-induced intestinal permeability and zonulin in tissues from patients with celiac disease. The investigators were able to successfully prevent gluten-induced intestinal tissue leak with the administration of the zonulin antagonist FZI/0 (AT-1001). AT-1001 is an orally administered peptide currently under development for the treatment of celiac disease.

Published in the November issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, these results describe the role that leaky gut plays in celiac disease and the role that zonulin plays in establishing the leak. These results are another milestone towards understanding the role of zonulin in celiac disease, says Alessio Fasano, M.D., lead author of the paper, professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of its Center for Celiac Research.

These results reinforce our conviction that AT-1001 has great therapeutic potential and we look forward to confirming these observations in celiac patients soon, stated Alba CEO Dr. Blake M. Paterson.

About Zonulin
Zonulin is a signaling protein that transiently and reversibly opens the tight junctions (tj) between the cells of epithelial and endothelial tissues such as the intestinal mucosa, blood brain barrier and pulmonary epithelia. Zonulin appears to be involved in many diseases in which leakage occurs via paracellular transport across epithelial and endothelial tight junctions (tj),
and thus may play an important potential role in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

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About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a T-cell mediated auto-immune disease that occurs in genetically susceptible individuals and is characterized by small intestinal inflammation, injury and intolerance to gluten. According to the National Institutes of Health, celiac disease affects approximately 3 million Americans, although the diagnosis is rarely made. The only treatment for celiac disease is complete elimination of gluten from the diet, which results in remission for some patients.

About Alba
Alba Therapeutics Corporation is a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Baltimore, Maryland. Alba is dedicated to commercializing disease-modifying therapeutics and drug delivery adjuvants based on the zonulin pathway. Albas lead molecule, AT-1001, is targeted towards the treatment of celiac disease and other auto-immune illnesses.

Contact: Dr. Blake Paterson
Alba Therapeutics Corporation
(410) 522-8708

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