Clinical Trials Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Australia has launched a clinical trial of a new vaccine for coeliac disease by switching off the immune response of those suffering with the disease to gluten.
Adults aged between 18 and 70 can participate in the trial if they have medically diagnosed the disease and have been following a strict gluten-free diet for one year or more.
Coeliac disease is a chronic medical condition in which the ingestion of even a small amount of gluten will lead to an immune response that damages the small intestine.
People suffering from the disease struggle with various gastrointestinal symptoms and, if left untreated, the illness can cause potentially serious complications.
Currently, the only way to manage coeliac disease is by strictly avoiding gluten in the diet.
USC Clinical Trials Centre director Lucas Litewka said that the investigational vaccine would be given to trial participants as an injection twice a week for seven weeks.
Litewka further added: “There is a real unmet need for therapies other than the gluten-free diet for some people with coeliac disease. This is a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”
The trial of the investigational vaccine will be performed alongside gastroenterologist Dr James Daveson at the centre on Sippy Downs Drive in Sippy Downs.
According to Dr Daveson, the vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance in people with coeliac disease.