May 2019 Issue

Editor’s Spot: Celiac Disease Happenings
By Judith Riddle
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 21, No. 5, P. 4

Dietitians who work closely with patients who have celiac disease know that much research is underway to better prevent, treat, and manage the condition, as it’s well known that simply eating a gluten-free diet not only is challenging but also doesn’t provide a cure, lead to complete intestinal healing, or eliminate symptoms for many people.

Several biotech and pharmaceutical companies have developed therapies that hope to detoxify gluten’s effects in the intestines, prevent gluten from interacting with the immune system in the intestinal wall, and disable the abnormal immune response to gluten. These therapies are in various stages of preclinical, phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 trials to examine tolerability, efficacy, and safety. Sitari Pharma, for example, is developing Transglutaminase 2, or TG2, inhibitors to reduce the autoimmune response that leads to intestinal inflammation and disease development. These treatments are in preclinical testing.

One of the most promising therapies is Nexvax2, a subcutaneous injection to protect patients from adverse effects of gluten exposure, by biotech company ImmusanT. The FDA recently granted Nexvax2 Fast Track designation to expedite the development and review process. The company is recruiting patients for a global phase 2 trial. The other therapy continuing to show promise is larazotide acetate (INN-202), a tight junction regulator, by Innovate Biopharmaceuticals. This helps restore leaky, or open, junctions to a normal state, decreasing the intestinal-inflammatory process in response to gluten. Larazotide acetate consistently has shown decreases in celiac disease symptoms in several clinical trials.

Dietitians can accelerate research by telling patients about iCureCeliac, a patient registry comprising people with celiac disease and their caregivers who contribute health data to help further research. Launched in 2016 by the Celiac Disease Foundation, the patient information in iCureCeliac helps researchers develop better diagnostic tools and treatments and gives patients access to innovative clinical trials nationwide. To learn more about iCureCeliac, visit

To shed light on what plays a role in the development of celiac disease, Today’s Dietitian is featuring the article “The Gut Microbiome’s Link to Celiac Disease,” on page 24.

By the time many of you receive this issue in hand, you’ll be preparing to attend our 6th annual Spring Symposium, May 19–22, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, where you’ll enjoy informative continuing education sessions, networking opportunities, product sampling, a keynote address, fitness activities, and special events. We look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale. Please enjoy the issue!

Judith Riddle