Potential Medication for Celiac Disease Symptoms

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Potential Medication for Celiac Disease Symptoms

There is hope on the horizon for those people with celiac disease who still experience uncomfortable symptoms while maintaining a gluten-free diet (GFD).

Many questions still abound as to why some people are still symptomatic while eating a gluten-free diet.  Often it happens from unknown gluten exposure.  The folks at Alba Therapeutics are furiously testing a new medication called “Larazotide Acetate” with some positive findings for decreasing both signs and symptoms of celiac disease while also consuming a GFD.

As the medication is taken 2 or 3 times per day after an exposure, it seems to reduce “leaky gut” or the permeability of intestinal cells to the gluten molecule.  A healthy intestinal wall has "tight junctions" in the gut wall which enables the passage of nutrients and blocks undigested food from entering the blood stream. Continued exposure to gluten (for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity) causes holes in these tight junctions.  As gluten goes through these holes in the intestinal lining and into the blood stream the inflammation process begins. As inflammation becomes excessive it causes continuous intestinal damage and an abnormal immune response.  This is considered the inflammatory “loop”.

An exploratory study from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center led by Daniel A. Leffler, Ph.D. recently published their findings June 2015 in the journal of Gastroenterology.  Larazotide Acetate acts locally to prevent the opening of these "tight junctions"  and disrupts the inflammatory loop. 

Encouraging was a lack of drug-related side effects from this medication.  Still in the very early stages of clinical trials,  but a positive result that may help in future studies to lessen the symptoms of celiac disease from gluten exposure.  

Disclosure: several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical company Alba Therapeutics Corporation and Cephalon/Teva  who provided funding for the study.

Gastroenterology, June 2015

Here is an article that gives an update on every drug being researched and developed to help with or prevent CD!!