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Researchers develop vaccine for celiac disease

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

Anyone who has received a positive celiac disease test knows that the disease can be extremely challenging to live with. It requires significant dietary sacrifices and inadvertently eating a product that contains gluten can make a person with the illness very sick. However, an Australian team of researchers has developed a vaccine against celiac disease that is showing promising results.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body's own immune system attacks itself in the presence of gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye products. However, researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute discovered three peptides that are considered toxic to individuals with the condition.

By rendering these peptides less toxic to individuals with celiac disease, the vaccine, called Nexvax2, helps stop the reaction that produces sickness.

"Nexvax2 aims to desensitise patients to the three specific peptides in gluten that we have previously identified as 'toxic' to people with celiac disease," said Dr. Bob Anderson, who led development of the medication. "Our Phase I study showed that Nexvax2 was safe to use and well tolerated, and importantly, that it had the desired biological response in patients with celiac disease."

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