Is there an alternative to the gluten-free diet?
The goal is to allow patients to free themselves from the “burden” of the gluten-free diet. Studies are being conducted, for example, on less toxic varieties of grain, on enzymes that are capable of metabolising the protein elements that are hardest for coeliacs to digest, and on anti-transglutaminase or anti-cytokine and immunomodulatory drugs capable of blocking the abnormal response to gluten (similar to a vaccine). At present, tests on the efficacy of these potential alternative treatments are still at a very early stage. Among other things, the progress of the research from the laboratory to clinical trials is slowed by the absence of an animal model for the coeliac condition. While it is easy to envision a rosier future for coeliacs, predicting a time frame for the completion of the research is more difficult. It must be stressed that any new treatment will have to prove itself to be better than the existing one, namely the safe, effective, and readily available gluten-free diet.