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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Northwestern: New Treatment May Reverse Celiac Disease

Results of a new phase 2 clinical trial using technology developed at Northwestern Medicine show it is possible to induce immune tolerance to gluten in individuals with celiac disease. The findings may pave the way for treated celiac patients to eventually tolerate gluten in their diet.

After treatment with the technology, the patients were able to eat gluten with a substantial reduction in inflammation. The results also show a trend toward protecting patients’ small intestine from gluten exposure. 

The findings were presented as a late-breaking presentation Oct. 22 at the European Gastroenterology Week conference in Barcelona, Spain. 

The technology is a biodegradable nanoparticle containing gluten that teaches the immune system the antigen (allergen) is safe. The nanoparticle acts like a Trojan horse, hiding the allergen in a friendly shell, to convince the immune system not to attack it.

Beyond celiac disease, the finding sets the stage for the technology — a nanoparticle containing the antigen triggering the allergy or autoimmune disease — to treat a host of other diseases and allergies including multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, peanut allergy, asthma and more.

The technology was developed in the lab of Dr. Stephen Miller, professor of microbiology and immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who has spent decades refining the technology. 

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