Celiac patients might see this vaccine become a reality.
For a celiac patient, a perfect world is when they can sit down at any table and tuck into a meal without worrying about gluten. This perfect world could become a reality, thanks to the development of a vaccine designed to treat the disease. Because the vaccine has been so successful in its clinical trial, it's now in phase 2!
Approximately 1% of the United States is affected by celiac disease, and this statistic does not include the large number of people who have undiagnosed cases. The disease causes the immune system to attack the small intestines when gluten is consumed. If the body is continuously exposed to gluten, it can result in serious damage to the lining of the small intestine. Patients would have trouble absorbing nutrients and will also have to deal with a variety of symptoms.
Over time, if the patient doesn’t adopt a gluten-free lifestyle, the disease can cause serious complications, including heart disease, cancer, and infertility. It can also lead to the removal of part of their small intestine.
Without a cure, the only way that patients can live a relatively normal and healthy life is to go gluten-free. This may seem straight-forward, but it's actually not. Aside from avoiding bread, pasta, and other baked goods, gluten can also be in make-up, cleaning products, and certain salad dressings.
This vaccine's clinical trial is standing out from the rest of the crowd
It’s no secret that there are tons of research and development projects on celiac disease, especially with those that focus on treatment options and cures for celiac disease. Thankfully, with more research, this means that there are plenty of opportunities to develop new and groundbreaking treatment.
The celiac vaccine is one trial that has stood out from the rest of the crowd. This vaccine is supposed to allow patients with celiac disease, and even non-celiac gluten sensitivities, to eat normally without having to worry about gluten.
The vaccine was successfully administered to a celiac patient
Recently, phase 2 of a clinical trial on a specialized vaccine called NexVAx2 was launched. This means that a celiac patient was given a vaccine for the first time ever. The purpose of the second phase in any clinical trial is to test the effectiveness of a drug. In this case, aside from testing how well it works on humans, the real hope is that this new vaccine will finally help those with celiac disease manage their condition.
The vaccine is being developed by a company based out of Massachusetts called ImmusanT. The biology company has worked hard to develop a vaccine that will help protect patients who get exposed to gluten while on a gluten-free diet. As the NexVAx2 is being trialed, researchers are looking to see if the benefits of the vaccine would outweigh any risks.
During the first phase of the trial. A select number of patients were divided into two groups. One group was given a gradual dose of the actual vaccine, while the other group was given a placebo. The purpose of this phase of the trial was to figure out what the proper dosage would be for an effective vaccine. Once that was established, the trial could move to phase 2.
The goals of phase 2: Figuring out the vaccine's potency and long-term effects
For researchers, celiac patients, and their families, there are multiple goals associated with phase 2 of the trial. The biggest goal? A successful outcome that will move the vaccine forward to phase 3. Aside from that, phase 2 will allow researchers to focus on:
- The possible long-term effects of the vaccine
- How potent the vaccine is against gluten sensitivities
- How durable a single dose is, meaning how long does the vaccine last before the patient needs to be revaccinated
- To trial as many as 150 patients from three different countries.
Once those questions are answered, the trial can safely move into phase 3.
When will celiac patients see this vaccine? It might take another 5 years
In a perfect world, it would be tomorrow. However, these trials usually take a lot of time. A long testing period is mainly to ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective enough to help a large number of patients. While a significant amount of progress has been made, you might not see this vaccine for another 5 years.
The future for celiac patients seems a little brighter
This news is HUGE for celiac patients. Not only does this form of treatment has a lot of potential, it also means that other studies and clinical trials might pick up some speed and lead to other exciting developments
It also means that patients who live with celiac disease can be very hopeful for what's to come. Now is the best time for you to advocate for this disease, push for more funding, and share your story to raise more awareness.