People who suffer from celiac disease may have something to celebrate if scientific trials from Australia come to fruition. The scientists have just successfully completed the first stage tests for a vaccine.
It’s safe to say that in comparison to diabetes and heart disease, celiac disease is a relatively unknown diet-related health issue. Part of the reason may be that many people who suffer from it don’t even know that they have it. Since it is estimated that as many as two million Americans suffer from celiac disease, it’s important that people have an understanding of what it is.
Simply put, celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder of the small intestine. Sufferers can’t eat gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley, because it damages the small intestine.
Celiac disease affects people in different ways. While some people may have digestive problems such as diarrhea or abdominal pain, others may suffer from mood shifts such as irritability or depression.
Scientists at Melbourne Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute say that their vaccine would “switch off” the immune reaction to gluten, which may mean that people who suffer from celiac disease would not have to eliminate gluten from their diets.
“The gluten free diet is very difficult, it’s costly, it’s complex,” said Dr. Jason Tye-Din. “Unfortunately even people who follow it very well – there’s a large proportion who still don’t get full healing of their bowel, so alternatives to the gluten free diet are really needed at the moment.”
The only bad news is that even if further trials are successful, estimates say the vaccine will not be available any earlier than 2017.
May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Here is more information on the disease:
(via: Australia Network News)
May 11th, 2011