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There’s new hope for those who suffer from celiac disease who have to live a gluten-free lifestyle - a vaccine could either lessen the symptoms or even eradicate them.
Nexvax2 has now cleared the first hurdle and will soon begin the second testing phase.
The vaccine is a type of immunotherapy that uses the body’s immune system to treat celiac disease, according to celiac advocacy website Beyond Celiac.
Nexvax2 is designed to work by giving a patient a small amount of the vaccine then increasing the amount over time. The vaccine will work in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, Beyond Celiac reported.
Prevention reported that if successful, the treatment will help build an immunity to proteins in gluten and eliminate the side effects of consuming it.
The company that developed the treatment, ImmusanT Inc., is now looking for 150 total participants in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study of Nexvax2.
The company isn’t just focusing on celiac disease. ImmunsanT is also looking at vaccines to treat other HLA-associated autoimmune diseases, like Type 1 diabetes.
Celiac disease affects about 2 to 3 million Americans.
The disease is an immune disease where people can’t eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine. Gluten is found in foods that contain wheat, rye and barley, as well as other products, including vitamins, hair and skin products and even toothpaste and lip balm, according to the National Institutes of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine.
It is genetic and blood tests can help doctors make a diagnosis. Treatment includes a gluten-free diet, according the NIH.
Symptoms differ among patients. Some may have issues with their digestive systems, while others may be irritable or depressed, according to the NIH.