(CBS) – A new vaccine may soon allow those who suffer from celiac disease to safely eat gluten.
The vaccine, NexVax2, uses the body’s own immune system to treat celiac disease.
Researchers believe if the vaccine is given in small amounts at first and the dosage is gradually increased, those who suffer from celiac disease will build up a resistance to the harmful protein in gluten without negative effects.
Those with celiac disease would still have to follow a gluten-free diet.
In 2017, the Massachusetts-based company, ImmusanT, received $40 million in financing to fund further research into NexVax2.
A year later, the first patient participating in a clinic trial received the vaccine and showed signs of progress.
This first step shows promising signs for the launch of the Phase 2 clinical trial, which is being called RESET CeD.
The RESET CeD trial is designed to determine how well the vaccine works and if the benefits outweigh any risks.
ImmusanT is ultimately looking to develop a vaccine that would eliminate the need for a gluten-free diet.
Researchers expect it will take at least five years before a drug is available to patients but they say the research into celiac disease treatments has sped up.