Researchers develop first drug against celiac disease

About every 100th affected

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, intestinal damage: gluten intolerance can have serious consequences. The disease is not yet treatable, but that could soon change.

A gluten intolerance manifests itself in different ways: some patients lose weight, are constantly tired or suffer from abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation. Others lapse into depressions or develop one osteoporosis.

What worries those affected is an excessive reaction from their body to Gluten, a protein found in many foods. Even traces of it can damage them.

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One Gluten intolerance (celiac disease) is a chronic disease of the mucous membrane of the small intestine, which is based on a lifelong intolerance to the adhesive protein gluten. Gluten occurs in grains such as wheat, spelled, barley, and rye.

Gluten intolerance: first drug shows “strong protective effect”

So far there are around 800,000 Celiac disease-Patients in Germany only have a lifelong, strict gluten-free diet that entails many restrictions and waivers. Most baked goods, pasta and beer are taboo, unless you pay attention to gluten-free products. Since the protein is used in the food industry, it can also be found in many finished products. A look at the packaging shows whether a product contains gluten.

Researchers at Mainz University Medical Center have now been the first to develop an active ingredient that could help people with gluten intolerance: the so-called transglutaminase inhibitor ZED1227.

Tests by the Mainz scientists together with international colleagues have shown that the active ingredient “has a strong protective effect on the mucous membrane of the small intestine and improves inflammation, disease symptoms and the quality of life of those affected,” according to a statement from the University of Mainz. This makes it the first drug against celiac disease whose clinical effectiveness can be proven.

Study: Active ingredient tested on 160 celiac disease patients

As part of the study, 160 participating patients voluntarily underwent daily gluten exposure and medication as well as two colonoscopies (endoscopies). The active pharmaceutical ingredient ZED1227 was administered as a tablet in three different doses. A fourth group of patients received a placebo.

The result: the drug prevented the gluten-related inflammation in the intestines in every dose. The highest dosage was found to be the most effective. In addition, the symptoms typical of celiac disease and the perceived quality of life improved with each dose of the drug.

“People with celiac disease feel a considerable amount of suffering due to the need to be careful when eating. explains study author Prof. Dr. Dr. Detlef Schuppan.

Due to the promising results of the study, a larger follow-up study with a particularly stressed patient group who does not respond to the gluten-free diet is planned from autumn 2021. However, it may take years before the drug is ready for the market.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.

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