When we first wrote, the vaccine’s initial human trials were scheduled to get underway in Australia. For 11 months, 40 brave celiacs agreed to try the vaccine out. Now that those months are over, results are in. And they’re promising.
Did your ears just perk up a little bit? I sure hope so.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the first-stage trial found the vaccine was, “was safe and had the desired biological response in patients with the disorder.”
The vaccine works similarly to other vaccines: it exposes a person’s system to elements of something toxic, in order to train the body on how best to fight the toxin. Or, in this case, how best to chill out and make friends with the toxin.
Small doses of the vaccine were given to patients in the study over a period of time, in order to slowly build up resistance. The vaccine contains the specific fragments of the gluten molecule found toxic by researcher Bob Anderson.
Anderson estimates that if the trials continue satisfactorily, the vaccine could help 90% of celiacs with the disease’s DQ2 genetic form. It could also be used as an alternate means of diagnosis, since it would trigger a negative response in any celiac patient if given in a large enough dose.
Down the line, the vaccine could also provide a model for treating other immune disorders, like Type 1 diabetes.
As the trials continue, we’ll keep you posted on the results. In the meantime, maybe it’s OK to start daydreaming about that first gluten-y treat. I think mine would be a croissant. Or a slice of pizza made by someone originally named Ray or Mario. You?