People with celiac disease have two options in life, none of which are properly ideal. Since their immune system cannot tolerate gluten, they can choose never to eat the many delicious foods that contain it. Boring.
Or they can devour all the cake, bread and beer they want - but resign themselves to the symptoms of celiac disease: abdominal pain, diarrhea and other bad side effects, because their immune system triggers an inflammatory response in their small intestine.
Needless to say, people tend to choose the first option (wisely) also by virtue of the vertical growth of the gluten-free market, with excellent products that sometimes do not make us regret those with gluten.
However, new technology could allow them to eat exactly what all non-celiacs eat.
The researchers of the Northwestern University they developed a technology on October 22nd that I told you about here.
Tuesday the technology, along with more details on the amazing results of the studies, was presented at the European Week of Gastroenterology Conference, and works as a sort of vaccine using a biodegradable nanoparticle as a vehicle that "transports" some gluten.
Injected into a person's bloodstream, the nanoparticle is mistaken for simple debris, and removed by macrophage cells.
by the immune system as somewhat harmless debris, so it allows a macrophage - a type of cell charged with removing such debris from the body - to devour the particle, the hidden gluten and everything else.
It is as if the particle is saying to the immune system "Don't worry: gluten is a simple debris", says the researcher Stephen Miller in a press release. "The immune system then stops its attack on the allergen, the symptoms of celiac disease do not show up and the body remains in normal conditions."
The researchers tested the nanoparticles in a phase 2 clinical trial in people with celiac disease.
Some participants were given two intravenous treatments, one with nanoparticles and the other with nothing to serve as a control group. A week later both groups were fed gluten for the next 14 days, and the nanoparticle-treated group had 90% less immune inflammation than the control group participants.