Celiac Disease New remedy for gluten intolerance

Celiac Disease New remedy for gluten intolerance / Health News

New remedy can alleviate or even eliminate symptoms of celiac disease

According to health experts, about one to two percent of the German population suffers from gluten intolerance (celiac disease). Patients have to pay close attention to their diet, as they can get a lot of discomfort when eating gluten-containing foods. However, researchers have now developed a remedy that can alleviate or even eliminate the symptoms of celiac disease.

Strict avoidance of gluten

Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) is a fairly common disease - about one to two percent of the European population suffer from it. It manifests itself in a hypersensitivity to gluten, a protein found in cereals such as wheat, barley or rye. Affected people must pay close attention to their diet. When you eat gluten-rich foods, you experience typical symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and a fatty stool. However, Austrian researchers have now developed a medical device that can alleviate or even eliminate the symptoms of celiac disease.

People who suffer from celiac disease experience a lot of discomfort after eating gluten-containing foods. These symptoms could be alleviated in the future with a newly developed drug or even eliminated. (Image: Africa Studio / fotolia / com)

Life-long incompatibility

Celiac disease is a chronic disease of the small intestine, which is caused by a lifelong intolerance to Gluten gluten.

The exact causes that can lead to this intolerance are still unknown.

Therapy is currently not available. Only a strict avoidance of gluten whitening, which is found in many cereals such as wheat, spelled and rye, can help.

Product should be on the market in a few years

However, there are efforts to treat celiac disease. The proposed drugs, however, intervene in the immune system, reports the Technical University (TU) Vienna in a statement. Therefore, possible side effects must be studied very carefully.

Although the first clinical studies are in progress, they are not expected to become a marketable product in the next few years.

At the Vienna University of Technology, therefore, they went a different way and developed no drug that interferes with the immune system, but a simple medical device that attacks the gluten molecules directly and harmless.

Thus, the approval process is much easier, already in 2021, the product should be available in ordinary pharmacies.

Antigens are rendered harmless by immune reactions

"Our body produces antibodies that fit exactly to penetrating antigens, like a key to the castle - this immune reaction, these antigens are rendered harmless," explains Prof. Oliver Spadiut, head of the research group Integrated Bioprocess Development at the TU Vienna.

"If you find and make a novel antibody fragment that binds to the invading gluten molecule and blocks it, but does not stimulate the immune system, then you can suppress the symptoms of celiac disease."

The aim of the research project was therefore to create a complex of two such novel antibody fragments that enclose the gluten molecule in a molecular way so that it can no longer have any further effects in the intestine.

To do this, you have to reprogram certain bacteria in such a way that they produce exactly the desired antibody fragment.

"The formation of such proteins in a bacterium is a highly complicated process," explains Oliver Spadiut. "It can easily happen that the proteins are not folded exactly in the desired way."

Good reproducible process

Instead of the desired antibody fragments, so-called "inclusion bodies" are formed - small particles consisting of incorrectly folded proteins.

Therefore, a process had to be developed to refold these inclusion bodies and to obtain the desired proteins from them.

Such processes, in which the folding of proteins is deliberately changed, have not been studied very well so far and therefore not very efficient.

"You have to understand the chemical processes in this process very well, and to intervene in a complex way controlling," said Spadiut.

"It took a while, but now we have developed a process that is highly reproducible, scalable to industrial scale, and provides a very good yield of the desired product."

Take the preparation with gluten-containing foods

"It will be a drug that celiac disease patients can take along with gluten-containing foods to relieve celiac disease," explains Spadiut.

"It does not take long for the symptoms to disappear or only to be alleviated, but that's probably different from person to person," says the expert.

"In any case, we reckon that the product will be available in ordinary pharmacies as early as 2021." (ad)