CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ImmusanT today announced that it has initiated a clinical research study to explore the immunologic relationship between celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and to further understand the underlying cause of T1D. The research will focus on characterizing immune responses in patients affected by both T1D and celiac disease. The study will be performed by the Joslin Diabetes Center.
It is estimated that celiac disease affects about one in 100 Americans, but in people with T1D about one in 10 are affected by the disease. Celiac disease is caused by an immune response to dietary gluten, but the trigger for the immune response causing T1D is not as clear. Studies suggest that genes putting people at risk of T1D and celiac disease are the same, and shared by several other common autoimmune diseases. Further research into whether the immune response causing celiac disease is related to the autoimmune response causing T1D may reveal new information about autoimmune disease in general.
The study with Joslin will assess patients with celiac disease only and patients who have both celiac disease and T1D. The goal of the study is to compare biomarker response in both sets of patients, which may elucidate drivers of T1D. In the long-term, this study could provide insights into potential treatments for T1D.
"Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease appear to be closely related, so it is natural that the next disease that ImmusanT would examine is T1D," noted Bob Anderson, Chief Scientific Officer of ImmusanT and the inventor of Nexvax2®. "By better understanding the mechanisms that are common to T1D and celiac disease, we may be able to leverage our expertise gained from developing Nexvax2 to identify a way to halt or prevent the autoimmune response in patients with Type 1 diabetes."
"ImmusanT pioneered the development of the only antigen-specific immunotherapeutic approach to celiac disease and we are eager to broaden our knowledge with others to uncover mechanisms common to other immune diseases," commented Leslie Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of ImmusanT.
About ImmusanT, Inc.
ImmusanT is a privately-held biotechnology company focused on restoring tolerance to gluten in celiac disease by harnessing new discoveries in immunology that aim to improve diagnosis and treatment and return patients to a normal diet, good health and improved quality of life. The company is developing Nexvax2®, a therapeutic vaccine for celiac disease, and a companion diagnostic and monitoring tool to improve celiac disease management. ImmusanT's targeted immunotherapy discovery platform can be applied to a variety of epitope-specific autoimmune diseases. Founded in 2010, ImmusanT is backed by Vatera Healthcare Partners. More information can be found at www.ImmusanT.com.
About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is the world's largest diabetes research and clinical care organization. Joslin is dedicated to ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives and offers real hope and progress toward diabetes prevention and a cure. Joslin is an independent, nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School. For more information, visit www.joslin.org.
SOURCE ImmusanT, Inc.