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A Vaccine for Celiac Disease

A Vaccine for Celiac Disease

Welcome to the forefront of medical innovation – the world of celiac disease vaccines. As science continues to push boundaries, we find ourselves on the cusp of groundbreaking developments in immunization.

There are two types of vaccines:

  • Preventative vaccines are given to patients before they’re sick, to prevent any infection or disease.
  • Therapeutic vaccines are given to patients once they’re already ill or have contracted a disease.

Types of Vaccines

Preventative Vaccines

The vast majority of vaccines are preventative. Vaccines for diseases like measles, chickenpox, polio and the flu are in widespread use, protecting patients all over the globe every day.

Preventative vaccines work by exposing the immune system to a very small portion of the illness so that the body can become familiar with it and build resistance before it ever encounters the live virus at its full capacity. You do not need to be sick to gain protection; preventative vaccines allow your immune system to create a robust defense in advance.

Think of a preventative vaccine like a Wanted poster of a criminal: the vaccine allows your immune system to know what the enemy looks like, so that if it ever encounters the bad guy, it knows to attack and destroy it.

Therapeutic Vaccines

Therapeutic vaccines for celiac disease are a more recent and innovative approach to managing disease. These vaccines tackle an immune response after a patient already has an illness or disease. When tailored to celiac disease, these therapeutic vaccines target the immune reactions triggered by gluten, aiming to reprogram the immune system to stop reacting to gluten.

Learn more about the vaccines in development for celiac disease by reading below.

Vaccines for Celiac Disease


TAK-101, an innovative celiac disease treatment utilizing nanoparticles originally developed by Cour Pharmaceuticals, and now owned by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, employs a method similar to vaccination.

The nanoparticles contain fragments of gliadin, a harmful gluten protein, known to start the autoimmune response in celiac disease. In individuals with celiac disease, these gliadin fragments typically cross the intestinal wall, triggering an immune response that leads to inflammation and damage to intestinal cells.

TAK-101 nanoparticles are injected into the bloodstream through a single intravenous dose. This process deceives the immune system into recognizing gliadin as a regular diet component. This unique mechanism is called “inducing immune tolerance.” In a Phase 2 clinical trial, TAK-101 was shown to prevent gliadin from creating an immune response in participants with celiac disease.


KAN-101 is another drug aimed at creating immune tolerance to gluten. This drug targets specific receptors on the liver, which set off a cascade of events that retrain the immune system. The immune system then learns to not react to gluten.

KAN-101 is being developed by Anokion, and is currently being studied in Phase 2 clinical trials. A previous clinical trial showed that KAN-101 changed the immune system’s response to gluten in people with celiac disease.

Discontinued Trial: Nexvax2

The clinical trial for Nexvax2, the celiac disease vaccine candidate developed by ImmusanT, was discontinued in June 2019 during Phase 2. Initial results revealed that it was ineffective at protecting patients from gluten exposure compared to a placebo.

Nexvax2 was an immunotherapy intended to employ the body’s immune system to treat the disease. The vaccine was administered in small amounts initially, with the dose gradually increasing. The goal was to trigger the immune system of patients with celiac disease and the HLA-DQ2.5 gene, the most common gene associated with the disease, to develop a resistance to the toxic protein in gluten without any adverse effects.

For more details on the Nexvax2 trial’s termination, please click here.

Other Potential Treatments for Celiac Disease

You can find the latest information about new celiac disease medications and vaccines (and how far they are in the clinical trial process) on our Drug Development Pipeline page.

How You Can Help Advance Celiac Disease Research

If you want to be on the cutting edge of research, consider joining a clinical trial for celiac disease. Learn more about clinical trials, check out active trials, and get matched to trials near you on our Clinical Trials page.

If you have celiac disease, you can help advance celiac disease research today. Be a part of the most extensive collection of information about celiac disease by joining and telling your story at Go Beyond Celiac.

Go Beyond Celiac is an online research database created by people with celiac disease, for people with celiac disease where patients and caregivers participate in research by sharing their stories and experiences and learning how they can join research studies. Researchers and doctors have identified that understanding how people have been impacted by celiac disease is some of the most crucial information required to accelerate vaccine and treatment research. Go Beyond Celiac allows you to tell researchers what life has been like before, during, and after your diagnosis.

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