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Okanagan company looking for people with celiac disease for drug trial

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A Kelowna-based company, Okanagan Clinical Trials, is looking for adults who suffer from celiac disease to participate in a current drug trial that may help provide relief from symptoms.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that’s caused by the ingestion of gluten, which leads to damage in the small intestine.

It’s estimated that celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people worldwide.

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According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is a general name for proteins found in wheat.

For those who suffer from celiac disease, digesting trace amounts of gluten can lead to a number of symptoms.

The symptoms range from bloating and headaches to tissue damage in the small intestine and depression.

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In order to qualify for the drug trial, individuals must be over 19 years of age and have a positive blood test, as well as a positive biopsy for celiac disease.

They must have also spent six months on a gluten-free diet, but continue to suffer from symptoms of the disease.

According to Naomi Mison from Okanagan Clinical Trials, the study is being sponsored by 9 Meters Biopharma Inc., a U.S.-based gastrointestinal company that is advancing drug candidates for short bowel syndrome and celiac disease.

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“The study concise of eight visits to our offices in Kelowna over a 30-week period,” said Okanagan Clinical Trials spokesperson Naomi Mison.

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“There are two different doses being studied, along with a placebo.”

The CeD-LA-3001 study is being done to determine if the investigational drug reduces symptoms of celiac disease in adults who are on a gluten-free diet, and if the study drug changes inflammation on the intestine.

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“People who are following a very strict, gluten-free diet are still being accidentally exposed,” said registered dietician Selena Devries.

Devries spent five years on the Canadian Celiac Association’s board of directors. She also runs the Kelowna Celiac Support Group and has lived with the disease for eight years.

“If I could take away the mental headspace of not having to think about cross-contamination, that would be amazing,” Devries said.

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“Currently, the only effective treatment to manage celiac disease symptoms is to maintain a gluten-free diet. But not every patient responds and symptoms can still occur,” said Mison.

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Those interested in participating in the study can contact Okanagan Clinical Trials at 250-862-8141.