The Celiac Disease Pill is Coming Soon

Celiac disease means you get sick from proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. Nearly 30 different drug companies are now working intensively to develop a pill or vaccine against the disease.

The only treatment for celiac disease today is to avoid gluten for the rest of your life. It can be difficult. But celiac scientists think the pill or syringe is here soon.

The Norwegian celiac scientists Ludvig M. Sollid and Knut E. A. Lundin are involved in several of these studies. They admit that it can affect their optimism.

With so much activity and so many serious players out there, I think something is emerging that helps celiacs, says Lundin.

If successful, celiacs can take a pill of enzymes that break down gluten before throwing themselves over the pizza.

Or can get gluten injected into the skin. The hope is that in such a vaccination, the immune system will eventually learn to understand that gluten is not a dangerous invader anyway.

Researchers’ optimism is partly that there are many large drug studies that have now come a long way in developing a drug.

One rule of thumb in medical research is that when pharmaceutical companies work on ten different drugs, on average, one of them will come on the market.

Sollid and Lundin at Rikshospitalet in Oslo, they show us a list of about three companies that are now on the ball.

One of them will present data already this fall. This is a clinical study in which a pill that inhibits the enzyme transglutaminase is tested. Previous research has shown that this enzyme is central to the disease process. In this study, Norwegian researchers and nearly 30 Norwegian patients participated.

A large vaccine study that had promising results in the first clinical phase has recently been discontinued following a mid-term review. The results showed no difference in reduction of symptoms or immune activation in those vaccinated with the active substance and those receiving placebo.

Sollid and Lundin’s optimism is primarily due to the basic research of the last decade. It has made celiac disease the only autoimmune disease that scientists today understand most.

Much of this research they can take credit for themselves.

Gastroenterologist Lundin and immunologist Sollid have worked closely for the build-up of knowledge about this disease.

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Summary

Celiac disease means you get sick from proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. Nearly 30 different drug companies are now working intensively to develop a pill or vaccine against the disease.

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