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New antibody treatment shows promise for coeliac disease

Coeliac disease affects millions of people worldwide yet the only current treatment for coeliac disease is through adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. This form of disease management is considered suboptimal as it is highly restrictive, difficult to maintain and does not always promote intestinal mucosal healing.

A recent study by the Japanese pharmaceutical company, Chugai Pharmaceuticals, has presented a successful antibody treatment, DONQ52 for coeliac disease. This treatment targets HLA-DQ2.5 gluten peptides that are present in 85% of individuals with the disease. By blocking gluten-specific T cells, DONQ52 prevents immune damage to the small intestine upon gluten ingestion in individuals with coeliac disease.

This study examined the gluten-specific immune response in blood samples from participants with coeliac disease following the consumption of wheat, rye and barley products. A significant reduction in the gluten-specific T cell response was observed. Importantly, treatment with DONQ52 did not affect the T cell responses to non-gluten antigens, making DONQ52 a promising drug candidate.

This research provides an exciting new targeted treatment for those with coeliac disease that could improve quality of life by reducing the need for a strict gluten-free diet.