Antibody Treatment for Advanced Celiac Disease


About this study


  • Celiac disease is a condition where the immune system attacks the cells of the small intestine. The intestine becomes inflamed and cannot digest food properly. The disease most often causes a reaction to foods that contain gluten. Most people can treat celiac disease with a gluten-free diet. However, some people have digestion problems even on a gluten-free diet. Researchers want to try a new antibody therapy for celiac disease. The treatment may block the immune reaction that causes the disease. They will test this antibody in people who have celiac disease that has not responded to a gluten-free diet.


  • To see if antibody therapy is a safe and effective treatment for celiac disease that has not responded to standard treatments.


  • Individuals at least 18 years of age who have been on a gluten-free diet for 6 to 12 months but still have symptoms of celiac disease.


  • Participants will be screened with a physical exam and medical history. Blood samples will be collected. These samples will help determine if the specific antibody treatment is likely to work.
  • Before the start of the study, participants will have a biopsy of the small intestine.
  • Participants will receive three doses of the study antibody as injections. These doses will be given 3 weeks apart.
  • Treatment will be monitored with blood tests and heart function tests. Participants will also have a second small intestine biopsy within a week after the last dose of the antibody.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.


  1. Patients must be greater than or equal to 18-years-old.
  2. All patients must have a pathologically confirmed diagnosis of refractory celiac disease(RCD) defined by internationally accepted criteria of persistent and recurrent symptoms(diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain) associated with intestinal damage, characterized by partial to total villous atrophy with intraepithelial lymphocytes defined by > 25 intraepithelial lymphocytes per 100 epithelial cells.
  3. Persistence of the above signs and symptoms despite strict adherence to a gluten-free diet for 6-12 months
  4. Patients are to have had circulating antibodies to transglutaminase-1 or similar celiac specific serology
  5. Patients must have a life expectancy of > 3 months
  6. Patients must have a creatinine of less than 2.0 mg/dL or if the patient has an elevated creatinine measured creatinine clearance (Ccr) must be > 60 mL/min/1.73m(2)
  7. Patients must have a serum alkaline phosphatase, ALT (SGPT) and AST (SGOT) less than 3x the upper limits of normal (ULN)
  8. Patients must have a total bilirubin of less than 2.5 x ULN
  9. Women of childbearing potential must have a negative beta HCG pregnancy test at initial screening and within 3 days prior to registration
  10. Patients receiving a stable dose (> 4 weeks) of corticosteroid therapy equal to 20 mg of prednisone per day or less are eligible
  11. Patients with a history of curatively treated basal cell carcinoma or intraepithelial neoplasia of the uterine surface will be allowed on the study
  12. Patients must be able to understand and sign an informed consent


  1. Patients enrolled in another therapeutic study
  2. Patients with a history of venous thrombosis
  3. Patients with antibodies to Hu-Mik-Beta-1
  4. A contraindication to monoclonal antibody therapy including adverse events related to prior monoclonal antibody therapy. Patients who have received prior antibody therapy will have permanent medical records reviewed by the study investigator.
  5. Any uncontrolled or chronic bacterial, mycobacterial or other viral (e.g., herpes virus), fungal, parasitic or protozoal infection
  6. History of malignancy (active or within the previous 5 years)
  7. Patients with HIV infection (antibody positive) with positive confirmatory molecular tests
  8. Patients who have chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C
  9. Pregnant or breastfeeding women. Women who not using an acceptable method of contraception. Acceptability of various methods of contraception will be determined by the investigator. Postmenopausal or surgically sterile women who have documentation of postmenopausal status or surgical sterility availability prior to enrollment.
  10. Patients with significant co-morbidities including uncontrolled hypertension (diastolic B/P > 115 mm/Hg), unstable angina, congestive heart failure (> N.Y.H.A. Class II), poorly controlled diabetes, severe chronic pulmonary disease, coronary angioplasty or myocardial infarction within the last 6 months or uncontrolled atrial or ventricular cardiac arrhythmias.
  11. Abnormal screening/baseline tests exceeding the limits outlined below:
    • Total white blood cell count (WBC) < 300/mm(3)
    • Platelet count < 85,000/mm(3)
    • INR greater than or equal to 1.5
    • Serum creatinine level > 1.5 mg/dL
    • Serum alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase or creatinine kinase > 2 x the upper limits of normal
  12. Patients with a history of a psychiatric disorder that may interfere with the understanding and compliance with this protocol, and the required follow-up
  13. Exclusion at the discretion of the PI or delegate if participation in the study is deemed too risky (e.g., clinically significant pleural or pericardial effusion or ascites)
  14. Inability to give informed consent

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Joseph Murray, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

More information


  • Celiac disease is a gluten-sensitive enteropathy, characterized by villous atrophy, which is reversed by gluten withdrawal. A minority of patients with celiac-like enteropathy are resistant to gluten-free diet, so-called refractory sprue, or unclassified sprue. Refractory sprue is a diagnosis of exclusion; all other causes of a celiac-like enteropathy must be eliminated before a diagnosis of refractory sprue can be made. Recent evidence suggests that refractory sprue comprises a heterogenous group of patients with diverse underlying causes. A small proportion of these patients seem to have an adult form of autoimmune enteropathy, characterized by the presence of antienterocyte antibodies. However, a larger group of patients with refractory sprue now seem to have a cryptic intestinal T-cell lymphoma, characterized by the presence of phenotypically abnormal, monoclonal intraepithelial lymphocytes, despite benign cytology. Current therapeutic options include nutritional support and immunosuppressive therapy, but response is variable. The prognosis of refractory sprue may be poor; patients may die of severe malabsorption, or through synchronous or metachronous development of an enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma. Based on this recent evidence, patients with refractory sprue should be screened for antienterocyte antibodies and have T-cell receptor and monoclonal antibody studies performed; this could facilitate identification of cases of adult-onset autoimmune enteropathy and those of cryptic T-cell lymphoma. Moreover, early recognition of the malignant nature of the intestinal infiltrate in some cases of refractory sprue could permit the development of novel chemotherapeutic regimens for this condition. Read More on PubMed
  • Adult refractory sprue is a poorly defined disorder. We did a multicentre national study of patients with refractory sprue to characterise their clinical and pathological profile and outcome, and to assess the frequency and prognostic significance of phenotypic and molecular abnormalities in the intraepithelial T-cell population. Read More on PubMed

Mayo Clinic Footer