Clinical trials for a new coeliac disease vaccine are being fast tracked by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) due to promising initial results.

gluten free bread

Coeliac disease is caused by an autoimmune response to gluten and affects approximately 1 in 100 people worldwide. Those affected must eat a gluten-free diet, or they may experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms, mouth ulcers, fatigue and anaemia.

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Problems occur for coeliac disease patients when they are exposed to gluten – a protein found in wheat and other grains – and the immune system is triggered to attack the body. This results in inflammation, mainly in the intestines, and causes the subsequent acute symptoms related to the condition.

Over 90% of coeliac disease patients carry immune recognition genes known as HLA-DQ2.5. These genes are human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes, which usually relate to specific diseases.

 injection needle

ImmusanT, a leader in the development of therapies for autoimmune disorders, has developed a vaccine that targets patients carrying the HLA-DQ2.5 genes. This novel therapeutic vaccine, known as Nexvax2, works by reprogramming specific T cells that are responsible for triggering an inflammatory response when gluten is consumed.