There is no cure for celiac disease. But, there may soon be a new therapy to go along with a gluten-free diet.
The investigational drug, Larazotide Acetate, was developed by Alba Therapeutics. It passed Phase I trials and is now being studied to determine how effective it is in different doses and whether side effects develop. Alba Therapeutics was co-founded by celiac disease researcher, Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Maryland.1
The therapy is based on Dr. Fasano’s discovery that tight junctions between cells in the intestine can be opened or closed and that gluten relaxes these junctions. It is this process that leads to gluten improperly crossing into the body, thereby eliciting an immune reaction that leads to inflammation and damage characteristic of celiac disease.
“The reality is that the paracellular space is a gate, not a wall or fence. And if material gets through that space – even if it is only 1 to 5% of what normally travels through the cell – it could be associated with disease.”
-Alessio Fasano, MD1
Dr. Fasano discovered the potentially therapeutic utility of down-regulating intestinal permeability of celiac disease.1 In other words, he discovered that (more…)