Coeliac jab may help shield kids
COELIAC disease may no longer be a lifelong condition for children, with new research debunking old theories to find that the juvenile version is the same as the adult condition.
With hundreds of Australians about to receive a trial vaccine, findings from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research pave the way for children to avoid a lifelong gluten-free diet.
Previous studies tested the immune response of children to gluten by taking samples of their immune cells, growing them in test tubes and testing the cells against gluten.
But institute clinician-researcher Jason Tye-Din said their study was a more “normal and natural process”, in which more than 40 children aged between three and 18 years were fed bread for three days, and the immune response tested in a blood test.
The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, found children responded to the same key peptides of gluten that were toxic to adults.
“While we’re quite advanced in developing a treatment for adults, kids were going to be left behind,” Dr Tye-Din said. “The findings open the door to children benefiting from the immune-vaccine being developed.”