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Celiac disease: Hope for new treatments beyond a gluten-free diet.

Clinical Nutrition 2024 April 16
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Celiac disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the small intestine induced and maintained by gluten ingestion in susceptible individuals. Current treatment consists of strict adherence to a lifelong gluten-free diet (GFD) which is considered safe and effective in the large majority of patients. However, since adherence to a GFD is difficult and has a negative impact on quality of life, an increasing interest in other treatment options has emerged. Moreover, in some individuals a GFD is not sufficiently effective, necessitating alternative treatments.

METHODS: By performing a systematic search, we constructed a detailed narrative review. Only treatment options considered relevant and conducted in a phase I, II or III clinical trial were included.

RESULTS: Based on the pathophysiology of CD, four major therapeutic approaches can be distinguished: firstly, by focusing on intraluminal gluten detoxification before absorption occurs, secondly, by modulating intestinal permeability and preventing paracellular uptake, thirdly, by enhancing immunological tolerance to gluten and finally, by regulating gluten auto-immunity.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite significant efforts, no treatment has yet completed a phase III clinical trial. Future studies will likely focus on the use of supplemental drugs in conjunction to a GFD, with ALV003 and ZED-1227 currently being the most promising therapeutic options.

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