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Nanoparticle tech reverses celiac disease in promising human trials

Date: 25.10.2019 

The first results have been revealed from Phase 2 human trials investigating a promising new treatment for celiac disease. The novel nanoparticle technology was found to significantly induce an immune tolerance to gluten in celiac subjects after just two intravenous treatments.

Kredit: Shutter_Lover / Wikimedia Commons.The treatment involves encapsulating a specific allergen inside a biodegradable nanoparticle. The human body responds innocuously to the presence of the nanoparticle, treating it like harmless debris, and sending an immune cell called a macrophage to clean it up. Macrophages have been euphemistically referred to as the body’s vacuum-cleaner cells, as they clear foreign substances from the body.

“The vacuum-cleaner cell presents the allergen or antigen to the immune system in a way that says, ‘No worries, this belongs here,’” explains Stephen Miller, who spent years developing the technology at Northwestern University. “The immune system then shuts down its attack on the allergen, and the immune system is reset to normal.”

In theory, the nanoparticle technology could be utilized to treat any number of autoimmune diseases triggered by specific known antigens, but this first exploration for the technology has focused on celiac disease. The current trial involves loading the nanoparticle with a molecule called gliadin, an essential protein in gluten known to trigger inflammatory responses in celiac disease patients.

While this first deployment of the technology is focusing on gluten and celiac disease, Stephen Miller suggests the nanoparticle can be loaded with other compounds targeting a number of autoimmune conditions.





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