Currently, the only “cure” for celiac disease is to adopt a gluten free lifestyle. But if researchers and science have their way, there could be more options on the horizon.
In the Name of Science
Not surprisingly, pharmaceutical companies have entered the gluten free scene. Currently, there are several drugs that are moving through the stages of clinical trials to evaluate effectiveness.
As of this writing, ClinicalTrials.gov has 114 studies listed that relate to celiac disease. Many of them are specifically designed to determine the benefits of particular drug therapies.
Some of the popular drugs being reviewed include:
ALV003 – This treatment focuses on the use of two enzymes. It’s believed the enzymes will essentially disintegrate any gluten before it has an adverse effect on the body and immune system.
Alvine Pharmaceuticals is conducting this trial, and it is in phase 2 testing. They are not actively recruiting patients. This trial phase is expected to be completed soon though, in June 2015, so watch for upcoming results.
BL-7010 – This treatment is designed to accommodate only small amounts of gluten. BL-7010 is a co-polymer that would bind to the gluten protein and help it pass harmlessly through the digestive tract.
BioLineRx, Ltd. is the sponsor of this study, and they are in phases 1 and 2 of testing. They are currently recruiting participants, but only those residing in Finland.
Hu-Mik- Beta-1 – This trial is testing the effectiveness of antibody treatment. While many celiacs are “cured” by adopting a gluten free lifestyle, some still suffer considerable digestive upset. The study is evaluating whether Hu-Mik-Beta-1 antibody treatment will block the immune response of gluten.
The National Cancer Institute as well as the Mayo Clinic are sponsoring this trial. It is in phase 1 and not yet actively recruiting participants.
Oral AGY – This trial is looking at the antibody IgY, which is “produced from the egg yolks of super immunized laying hens.” Essentially, the antibody is put into capsule form, and is then referred to as AGY. This study is for those who are still symptomatic despite following a gluten free diet.
Igy Inc. and the University of Alberta are sponsoring this trial, and it is currently in phase 1. They are actively recruiting Canadian-based participants who do not have an egg allergy.
There’s no telling what the future might hold with these treatments. Maybe following a strict gluten free diet won’t be a medical necessity for celiacs a few years from now. Until then, it’s nice to know researchers are looking at ways to help our community.
Would you participate in a celiac clinical trial? Or have you already done so? Please tell us in the comments below!
Steph Weber is a Midwest-based freelance writer and marketing maven, who also happens to love food – minus the gluten, dairy, and eggs. To hire her or see more of her work, please visit stephweber.com.