Patients with celiac disease will get a new drug to treat their symptoms. It could offer relief in case of exposure to gluten while on a gluten-free diet. The study will be presented at the Digestive Disease Week.
Exposure to gluten in celiac patients can trigger symptoms like: gut pain and diarrhea.
MD, Ph.D. Francisco Leon is the study director and also a consultant for Amgen. He and his team found that there is an antibody – AMG 714, that can block interleukin 15, which mediates celiac disease. The AMG 714 will relieve symptoms after gluten exposure. He also explains that the treatment will only work in small amounts of gluten exposure:
“It’s important to note that this drug is being investigated for its potential to protect against modest contamination, not deliberately eating large amounts of gluten, like bread or pasta.”
Patients will follow a gluten-free diet and can use the drugs when symptoms appear due to traces of gluten. He explains contamination could be due to food processing, packaging or wrong labeling:
“Our hope is that this drug may allow celiac patients on a gluten-free diet to experience fewer gluten-triggered events.”
Researchers tested for 12 weeks two groups of patients. There were double-blind, placebo-controlled groups. One group received different doses of treatment (injections), while the other group received placebo treatment.
The group that received AMG 714 saw a decrease in the inflammation of the intestines, especially in the patients that received doses of 300 mg. Placebo group experienced diarrhea, compared to the group that received the treatment.
Some of the common side effects of the treatment were reactions and pain at the site of injection, headaches or upper respiratory tract infection.
It’s Impossible To Completely Avoid Gluten
The principal investigator in the study is Markku Maki, MD, PhD, who is also a professor for the Faculty of Medicine and Biosciences at the University of Tampere, Finland. He explains that a gluten-free diet isn’t always gluten-free:
“A gluten-free diet has been the only treatment option for celiac disease patients to date, yet it is nearly impossible for them to avoid gluten entirely and indefinitely. That is why we have been investigating medications to help prevent the consequences of hidden gluten.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.