* Multi-Center Serological Screening Study to determine the prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States; and
* New Diagnostic Assay to develop a non-invasive diagnostic test for Celiac Disease.
1) SEROLOGIC SCREENING STUDY
We have tested 3,076 samples as part of the Multi-Center Serological Study for the prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States. Our preliminary findings indicate that 6.8% of first-degree relatives and 4.7% of second-degree relatives of Celiacs test positive for the disease. These results are similar to those reported previously in Europe, suggesting that Celiac Disease is currently under-diagnosed in the United States.We are extremely encouraged by these preliminary findings; however, many more subjects need to be screened to put the study into full operation. Your financial help is pivotal to accomplish our goals.
2) NEW DIAGNOSTIC ASSAY
Our scientists have been able to develop a more sensitive, non-invasive, and specific test for Celiac Disease based on the use of tissue transglutaminase. We were able, for the first time, to clone the human transglutaminase gene. By using this tool, we have developed a new diagnostic tool that may eventually allow us to make a definite diagnosis of Celiac Disease without an intestinal biopsy.
BLOOD SCREENING UPDATE
Blood screenings of first and second-degree relatives have been conducted in New York, North Carolina, New Hampshire, California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Maryland, Texas, and Rhode Island.Screenings are scheduled for Billings, Montana June 19th, Louisville, Kentucky September, 18th and Vermont (to be scheduled in Oct/Nov.)
Thanks to the sponsorship of Dietary Specialties, we are very excited to announce that the Center for Celiac Research will have a web site. The domain name will be www.celiaccenter.org. and should be on line by June 21st.
As of June 1, 1999, the University of Marylands Center for Celiac Research has received approximately $340,000 in contributions and pledges. We thank all of you who have made a contribution or pledge. The Center was very fortunate to receive three significant pledges/contributions over the past four months which helped boost our contribution total by more than $100,000 since our last update. Although this is a significant increase, we must keep the momentum going.
For now, we cannot rely on any outside financial assistance. So please, help us to help you. Remember we are not asking you to make a contribution, but to make an investment in the well being of every celiac - now and in the future.
NINTH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON CELIAC DISEASE
The Center for Celiac Research, the University of Maryland Program for Continuing Education, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, San Diego are pleased to announce joint sponsorship of the Ninth International Symposium on Celiac Disease. The symposium will be held August 10-13, 2000 at the Marriotts Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, Maryland.
The medical program to be presented will discuss the most advanced knowledge of the genetic, immunological, and diagnostic aspects of Celiac Disease. In addition, a panel of international experts will discuss new frontiers for the treatment and prevention of Celiac Disease. Celiacs from around the world will be given the opportunity to compare
the practical aspects of living with Celiac Disease in different countries and cultures at a full day session. Registration information and costs will be available in August and will be posted on the web site.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- If you have not made a pledge or contribution, please consider making one at this time. Please make checks payable to the UM Foundation, Inc. Center for Celiac Research, Attn: Pam King, 700 W. Lombard St. Room 206, Baltimore, MD 21201. These funds are administered by the University of Maryland Foundation, Inc.
- If possible, increase your current pledge or make another gift at this time.
- Discuss the importance of this study with fellow celiacs, relatives, friends or whoever might be in a position to help. Ask them to contribute.
- Organize discussions and/or fund-raising efforts with your local support group. For example, Tri-County Celiac Sprue from Walled Lake, MI organized a bake sale and the Greater Louisville Celiac Sprue Support Group organized a walk/run event. Both donated the proceeds to the Center.
- Help us to identify possible organization, companies, trusts or foundations that might be in a position to help. Please contact Pam King at 410-706-8021 if you have any questions or need any assistance.
- Send contributions to the Center for Celiac Research in honor or in memory of a friend or loved one. Make a gift to the Center in honor of the new year.