Friday, May 1, 2009

The End Of The Gluten Free Diet for Celiacs?

Some of you may have already seen the news that came out in April about the Celiac Disease vaccine trials that started in Australia. The research being conducted by Bob Anderson of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research is the first of it's kind in the world. Basically, people would be able to get a vaccine for Celiac Disease which would turn off the immune-system-attack-gluten-response in the body. The research has already shown successful on mice (I didn't know mice could get Celiac Disease) and now 40 brave soles will get doses of the vaccine over the next 11 months. If all goes well, a phase II trail could begin in 2011.
The vaccine therapy involves repeatedly injecting solutions of gluten at increasing concentrations. The goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate gluten sensitivity slowly, in a manner similar to common allergy desensitization treatments.
So is this the end of the Gluten Free Diet treatment for Celiac Disease (and thus the end of the Gluten Free Raleigh Blog)? If this works, couldn't I just start with a crumb of a donut and then eat larger and larger portions each day? Sorry, that's a joke - even though I really miss donuts. Bob Anderson (a gastroenterologist and PhD scientist) has been working for years to raise funding for his research on this topic. He formed a company called Nexpep in 2007 to conduct this research and find a viable vaccine. Check out Nexpep's Youtube page here. There are hopes that this type of research can work for other immune diseases like Diabetes, RA and MS.

Question - if a vaccine were available for Celiac Disease, would you take it? Is the Gluten Free Diet too expensive and too difficult to follow?


Anonymous said...

I'm just gluten intolerant. I think the diet (and your blog!) will still be important for my health.

The vaccine is great news for celiacs, though!

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