Gluten-free diets are difficult to maintain.
Gluten-free diets are difficult to maintain.

Cure for coeliac disease? How to get on USC vaccine trials

COELIAC sufferers could soon be able to eat gluten, with a vaccine trial starting today.

The University of the Sunshine Coast's Clinical Trials Centre will trial a new vaccine that aims to improve the lives of those with coeliac disease by switching off their immune response to gluten.

Coeliac disease is a serious chronic medical condition in which eating gluten, even in small amounts, leads to an immune response that causes damage to the small intestine.

Currently, the only way to manage the disease is to avoid gluten - something that is difficult and expensive, with the product used in a wide range of food.

Centre director Lucas Litewka said the vaccine would be given to trial participants as an injection twice a week for seven weeks.

University of the Sunshine Coast is conducting the clinical trials.
University of the Sunshine Coast is conducting the clinical trials.

He said the trial would be conducted alongside gastroenterologist James Daveson.

Dr Daveson said a gluten-free diet was exceptionally demanding for patients, expensive and difficult to maintain, as gluten was used extensively in modern food production.

Would you try a vaccine to treat coeliac disease?

This poll ended on 30 March 2018.

Current Results

Yes, it would beat having to eat gluten-free all the time.


Nope, I'd stick with a gluten-free diet.


I'd love to try it, but hate needles.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"There is a real unmet need for therapies other than the gluten-free diet for some people with coeliac disease," he said.

"This is a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now."

Dr Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance in coeliac disease sufferers.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 70 can take part in this trial if they have medically diagnosed coeliac disease and have been following a strict gluten-free diet for 12 months or more.

Contact the USC Trials Centre on (07) 5456 3797.