Gluten ingestion leads to small intestinal mucosal injury in patients with celiac disease, necessitating strict life-long exclusion of dietary gluten. Despite adherence to a gluten-free diet, many patients remain symptomatic and still have small intestinal inflammation. In this case, nondietary therapies are needed. We investigated the ability of ALV003, a mixture of 2 recombinant gluten-specific proteases given orally, to protect patients with celiac disease from gluten-induced mucosal injury in a phase 2 trial.
We established the optimal daily dose of gluten to be used in a 6-week challenge study. Then, in the intervention study, adults with biopsy-proven celiac disease were randomly assigned to groups given ALV003 (n = 20) or placebo (n = 21) together with the daily gluten challenge. Duodenal biopsies were collected at baseline and after gluten challenge. The ratio of villus height to crypt depth and densities of intraepithelial lymphocytes were the primary end points.
A daily dose of 2 g gluten was selected for the intervention study. Sixteen patients given ALV003 and 18 given placebo were eligible for efficacy evaluation. Biopsies from subjects in the placebo group showed evidence of mucosal injury after gluten challenge (mean villus height to crypt depth ratio changed from 2.8 before challenge to 2.0 afterward; P = .0007; density of CD3(+) intraepithelial lymphocytes changed from 61 to 91 cells/mm after challenge; P = .0003). However, no significant mucosal deterioration was observed in biopsies from the ALV003 group. Between groups, morphologic changes and CD3(+) intraepithelial lymphocyte counts differed significantly from baseline to week 6 (P = .0133 and P = .0123, respectively). There were no statistically significant differences in symptoms between groups.
Based on a phase 2 trial, the glutenase ALV003 appears to attenuate gluten-induced small intestinal mucosal injury in patients with celiac disease in the context of an everyday gluten-free diet containing daily up to 2 g gluten. Clinicaltrial.gov,