The First-Ever Vaccine For Celiac Disease Has Begun Phase 2 Trials

Delicious gluten-y goods. Alastair Wallace/Shutterstock

A vaccine that could enable people with celiac disease to safely consume gluten has begun phase 2 testing in the US, Australia, and New Zealand after more than a decade of development.

Results from several phase 1 trials previously showed that the immune system-modifying treatment, called Nexvax2, is safe and tolerable. The upcoming studies will evaluate its efficacy.

Nexvax2 reprograms T-cells so that they no longer attack certain amino acid sequences – peptides – within the proteins that constitute gluten by repeatedly exposing the body to modified forms of three of these peptides. (Gluten is not one molecule, but rather a composite compound made of several different energy and mineral-rich proteins that, alongside starch, are stored in grain seeds.) In about 80 to 90 percent of celiac cases, the patient’s inflammatory response to gluten – which leads to the destruction of the intestinal lining if gluten is consumed frequently – arises because they are carriers of the HLA-DQ2.5 gene. This gene creates a recognition protein that instructs T-cells to flag harmless gluten peptides as dangerous.

The vaccine will not work for individuals with non-HLA-DQ2.5-mediated gluten sensitivity.

“The initiation of our Nexvax2 Phase 2 trial is significant for patients who suffer from celiac disease, a condition affecting approximately 1% of the global population,” Leslie Williams, CEO of ImmusanT, the company behind Nexvax2, said in a statement earlier this year. “This trial is designed to demonstrate protection against inadvertent exposure to gluten, but the ultimate goal is to develop Nexvax2 as a treatment that will allow patients to return to an unrestricted diet.”

Full Article
Comments

If you liked this story, you'll love these

This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to use our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.