Want to help trial a vaccine for coeliac disease?

Wednesday, 04 April, 2018

Want to help trial a vaccine for coeliac disease?

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) Clinical Trials Centre has launched 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.

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. But as noted by gastroenterologist Dr James Daveson, a gluten-free diet is exceptionally demanding for patients, expensive and difficult to maintain, as gluten is 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,” Dr Daveson said.

According to Dr Daveson, USC’s investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance in coeliac disease sufferers. He will be delivering the vaccine to trial participants via injection twice a week, for seven weeks.

“This is a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now,” Dr Daveson said.

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 should visit the USC website or phone (07) 5456 3797.

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