What'll this do to the gluten-free market?
‘Gluten free’ is a very popular dietary choice at the moment. This has been great for the genuinely gluten intolerant coeliac disease sufferers as their choice of foods in supermarkets and restaurants has expanded dramatically.
Now the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Clinical Trials Centre is starting a clinical trial of a new vaccine that aims to switch off the immune response to gluten. This will mean that, if the trial is successful, coeliacs will be able to consume gluten without suffering any adverse effects.
This really is a breakthrough for those who suffer from coeliac disease.
But what about the whole ‘gluten free’ industry? Will those electing to follow a gluten-free regime continue if it is established that the whole problem can be abolished with a vaccine? Interesting times.
Interested in the clinical trial?
Coeliac disease is a serious chronic medical condition in which the ingestion of gluten, even in small amounts, leads to an immune response that causes damage to the small intestine.
Sufferers struggle with various gastrointestinal symptoms and, if untreated, face potentially serious complications. Currently, the only way to manage the disease is by the strict avoidance of gluten in the diet.
USC’s Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said the investigational vaccine would be given to trial participants as an injection twice a week for seven weeks.
He said the trial would be conducted alongside gastroenterologist Dr James Daveson at the Clinical Trial Centre on Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs.
Dr Daveson said a gluten-free diet was exceptionally demanding for patients, expensive and difficult to maintain as gluten was used extensively in modern food production.
“There is a real unmet need for therapies other than the gluten-free diet for some people with coeliac disease,” he said. “This is a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”
Dr Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance in coeliac disease sufferers.
Adults between the ages of 18 and 70 can take part in this trial if they have medically diagnosed coeliac disease and have been following a strict gluten-free diet for 12 months or more.
Those who meet the criteria and are enrolled in the study will be compensated for their time. Patients interested in participating can go to www.joinourtrials.com or phone (07) 5456 3797.
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