ImmusanT Takes Steps Towards Gluten-Tolerant Vaccine

How many times have you explained your gluten intolerance to someone, only to have them shake their head sorrowfully and ask, “So there’s no pill you can take?”

And of course you have to say that no, it’s not quite like lactose intolerance, you aren’t like those “lucky” folks who can pop a pill and grab a pizza.

If all goes well with ImmusanT, soon we’ll all be able to say that we have something better. The Cambridge-based company is, “focused on restoring tolerance to gluten in celiac disease,” according to their press release.

But what does that mean?

ImmusanT is working on a vaccine called Nexvax2®, which in theory would expose people with celiac disease to small amounts of the three peptides (sub-parts of gluten) that elicit a negative response. If the vaccine works, then over time the T-cells that react so negatively to gluten would in effect “get used” to it and stop seeing it as an enemy.

This in turn would allow celiacs to resume eating gluten. Quite frankly I can’t even imagine what that would be like – to suddenly have someone say, “OK, go ahead, order whatever you want.” Leaves me speechless. The vaccine is entering Phase 2a trials, so the big day is still a ways away.

There are two extra-nice things about this nice piece of news. First of all, if the company can sort out a vaccine for celiac disease they’ll be able to apply that knowledge to other autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes.

Second, the company is founded and run by a woman. It’s struck me before that the celiac community is home to a number of vocal female leaders – we could speculate as to why this is, but that’s a post for another day – point is, kudos to women taking charge and doing big things in the sciences.

You can read more about ImmusanT and the science behind their vaccine in this press release.

If you were able to have gluten again, what’s the first thing you’d eat? Or would you stick with the gluten-free diet?


10 thoughts on “ImmusanT Takes Steps Towards Gluten-Tolerant Vaccine”

  1. What about people who test negative for Celiac, but still need to eat gluten free? I’m not sure whether I would continue to eat gluten-free or not if I didn’t have to. I have definitely noticed healthier eating habits which has been great. Eating gluten free forces me to get creative, especially with snacks. On the other hand, eating gluten free is very expensive and for a lot of the convenience foods (breads, cakes, etc.) I have to order them online which costs even more. Even baking bread myself is way more expensive than regular bread. I guess it’s like getting the chance to regain your sight or hearing; there are some people who would rather not because they don’t view it as a handicap.

  2. I sure hope that would work for those of us with gluten intolerance! Dare to dream…I miss sourdough bread the most.

  3. I have a list: Krispy Kreme donuts, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting from Publix, Papa John’s Pizza and brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts to name a few. I would definitely not stay on a gluten free diet if I didn’t have to for many reasons; convenience, cost and taste just to name a few. All that being said, it’s kind of a scary thought . . . almost like when I found out I had to be on a GF diet.

  4. It would be nice to at least not worry about HIDDEN gluten. Imagine going to a restaurant, ordering a nice, sensible steak and vegetable meal without worrying about the marinade on the steak. That’s been the hardest for me. Fine, I’ll forgo the bread, not the hardest thing… but having to publicly announce my condition EVERY TIME I eat out is embarrassing and makes me feel so “not normal”. It would be great to make smart choices and be protected if a little gluten inadvertently slips in. Let me feel like I have a LITTLE BIT of control, ya know?
    All that being said, I would DEFINITELY partake in some REALLY good baked goods, pizza, pasta and Asian food whenever I could! (And I TOTALLY agree with Sharon!!) = )

  5. My concerns is 11 months is not enough time to know what the real negatives might be to this Vaccine. As Humans aren’t we always in a hurry for the Next magic Pill, but we never think of what the long term side effects might be on our body. What will we be giving up, just to eat Gluten’s again? Until the full truth is out about this vaccine, I want nothing to do with it. Forgive me, but just look at all other Magic Pills that have been created by the Pharmecutical Companies that promise you the world, but always come with side effects. AND Oh BOY what about those side effect!. All you have to do is watch TV addvertisement for Liptor and pharmecutical type drugs or vaccines. Haven’t they all come with a price?

  6. • My concerns is 11 months is not enough time to know what the real negatives might be to this Vaccine. As Humans aren’t we always in a hurry for the Next magic Pill, but we never think of what the long term side effects might be on our body. What will we be giving up, just to eat Gluten’s again? Until the full truth is out about this vaccine, I want nothing to do with it. Forgive me, but just look at all other Magic Pills that have been created by the Pharmaceutical Companies that promise you the world, but always come with side effects. AND Oh BOY what about those side effect!. All you have to do is watch TV advertisement for Lipitor and pharmaceutical type drugs or vaccines. Haven’t they all come with a price?

  7. I would go for the Papa John’s pizza; also croissants, real bagels with cream cheese, Toll House cookies, Olive Garden fettucini alfredo, and toasted ravioli. Six more years…six more years…

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