Could a breakthrough vaccine put an end to coeliac disease?

A new vaccine could end coeliac disease [Photo: Getty]

As anyone with coeliac disease will likely testify, eating every day foods can be a real struggle, not to mention have some pretty serious impact on health.

So news of a breakthrough vaccine, which could help sufferers to eat gluten without getting ill, will no doubt be welcomed.

The Perth-based research, conducted by Linear, anticipates that the vaccine could be available in as little as two years and, as well as potentially helping coeliac sufferers, could also be used for those with rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

Commenting on the vaccine, Dr Michael Winlo, from Linear Clinical Research, told 9 News Perth:

“It’s just a light injection, similar to how a diabetic might inject insulin nowadays.”

“The promise of being able to lead a normal life without having to be so strict with one’s diet is actually really exciting and liberating for people.”

According to the NHS, coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed and unable to absorb nutrients.

It can cause a range of symptoms including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating.

Coeliac disease is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten, a dietary protein found in three types of cereal: wheat, barley and rye.

Gluten is found in any food that contains the above cereals, including: pasta, cakes and most types of bread.

The new vaccine could be available within two years [Photo: Getty]

At the moment approximately one in every 100 people in the UK are affected by coeliac disease. 

So how will the new vaccine help?

According to researchers the vaccine is a special combination of proteins that work by attaching to the immune system cells in coeliacs when they overreact after coming into contact with gluten.

“It quietens them down. Over time, we think it can shut them off and allow people to live a normal life,” Dr Winlo explains.

The trial hopes to establish what dose needs to be given and how often the vaccine will need to be taken.

Currently there is no cure for coeliac disease, but switching to a gluten-free diet can help control symptoms and prevent long-term consequences of the condition.

So though it is early days, a potential vaccine is certainly good news for coeliac sufferers.

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