Dr. Bob Anderson, a gastroenterologist in Melbourne, Australia, is heading the research on a celiac vaccine. His work focuses on desensitizing patients by injecting them with gluten peptides, amino acids that gang up to produce the immune reaction. “The idea is if you give one injection, you will activate a response but if you repeat it, you can use it as a treatment,” he tells Allergic Living.
Anderson has focused on a treatment that would allow people to eat gluten because he knows it’s hard to avoid the protein, no matter how diligent you are. He points to research that suggests about half of patients who are following gluten-free diets still have substantial damage in their small intestines. Results from the Phase I safety trial with patients should be compiled and ready by the middle of this year.