Researchers create pill to 'cure' coeliac disease

Added on 07 Mar, 2005 . There are .

Researchers at the University of Baltimore have announced that a pill, called AT-1001, could allow people with coeliac disease to eat normally, including the foods that are usually off-limits.

Evidently the pill makes the gut more watertight, and therefore could allow coeliacs to eat whatever they want, however the early studies were on rats and currently experts are questioning the implications.

These findings have raised some controversy as experts argue that the best way to manage coeliac disease is by avoiding the foods that cause a problem and eating a healthy, balanced diet, including regular exercise.

The intestine is normally permeable, and a protein in the body called zonulin regulates how permeable the intestine is. The pill blocks the production of zonulin, which reduces the permeability of the intestine, in turn reducing the foods, toxins, bacterial and viral particles that pass into the blood stream. This leakage causes the body to attack itself resulting in coeliac disease or other autoimmune diseases.

A member of Coeliac UK's medical advisory council has said "the research findings are encouraging and Coeliac UK will be following developments closely."

The lead researcher of this study is confident that if all goes well with testing they could have a product on the market by the end of 2006, and plans are now under way to test the drug on people with coeliac disease.

What is coeliac disease? and how is it different from wheat allergy?