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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams
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    The University of Washington is Close to a Cure for Celiac Disease? Really?

    Caption: University of Washington Cheerleaders. Photo: CC--Charles Nadeau

    Celiac.com 05/26/2015 - If recent reports are any indication, the University of Washington's PR team might be getting ahead of the facts with claims that the university research team is close to developing a cure for celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--Charles NadeauNumerous articles are claiming that UW researchers are working to develop an enzyme-laden pill that would break down gluten in the stomach, thus permitting people with celiac disease to eat wheat. Hence, the 'cure' idea. The enzyme, it is said, would break it apart into amino acids that could be absorbed with no risk of adverse reaction for people with celiac disease. Well, an enzyme that breaks down gluten is not necessarily the same thing as a 'cure' for celiac disease.

    Ingrid Swanson Pultz, who leads the research project describes the substance as a protein that people with celiac disease will consume orally. The team is looking to begin FDA mandated tests and human trials will sometime in the next two years. The drug "really stands to make an impact on people's lives," Pultz said.

    However, UW is not the only institution working on drugs to treat celiac disease. There are several drug treatments in progress. It's unclear at present, and will remain unclear until the human trial phase whether the enzyme will permit safe gluten consumption by people with celiac disease, or whether it would permit limited gluten consumption within certain parameters.

    In fact, given the numerous products currently under development for celiac disease treatment, and hoping to see release in the next few years, we're likely to hear many claims, much hypes, and plenty of marketing and PR flash.

    Until we actually have a product that works safely and effectively, it seems that any claims regarding a cure for celiac disease are largely overblown PR smoke. That means you, University of Washington. 

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    A lot of wheat is grown and developed in the state of Washington. The banking industry owns trillions of dollars in wheat harvesting and other related equipment. In the corporate world of agriculture and food, it makes sense to spend billions of dollars trying to squelch any knowledge of the harmfulness of toxic gluten beyond celiac, and the harmful proteins in wheat beyond gluten. It also makes sense to them to get approved drugs to "treat" celiac disease that will cost a million dollars to treat every diagnosed celiac with a million dollars worth of drugs over each celiac's lifetime, and to shorten the life of every celiac, and to deny every diagnosis that they can.

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    Whatever they are working on sounds a lot like an improved version of dipeptidyl peptidase IV. This enzyme is currently in some supplements. See the paper A food-grade enzyme preparation with modest gluten detoxification properties by Ehren if interested.

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    This is the most promising I've read, out of the University of Naples: Google "Safety for patients with celiac disease of baked goods made of wheat flour hydrolyzed during food processing."

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, and science. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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