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Progress at Stanford University School of Medicine's Celiac Management Clinic

Celiac.com 05/12/2006 - Dear Colleagues in the Celiac Community: We would like to provide you with a progress report of the Celiac Management Clinic (CMC) at Stanford Medical Center. Realizing that many physicians and gastroenterologists have a limited understanding of the frequency of Celiac Sprue in the population and the subtlety of the clinical manifestations of this disease, we instituted the CMC at Stanford Medical Center in January 2005. This clinic is staffed by Dr. Gail Pyle and myself. A large number of patients who carried the diagnosis of Celiac Sprue have chosen to be seen in consultation--the majority of these did have Celiac Sprue, as estimated from blood antibody tests and the small intestinal (duodenal) biopsy. For many of these patients, comprehensive emphasis on gluten exclusion has been very effective in eliminating symptoms and the malabsorption of nutrients.

However, both in this patient group and in those healthy gluten-free Celiac volunteers who participated in the trial supported by the Celiac Sprue Research Foundation in collaboration with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation on pre-treatment of grocery store gluten with a special peptidase(1) there was a surprising discovery. Fully half (~50%) of those presumed to be in remission from the disease had malabsorption of important nutrients. This major finding was a surprise, and it gives us pause concerning Celiac Sprue therapy.

Is gluten exclusion not optimal or is it insufficient therapy for this large proportion of Celiac Sprue patients?

The concerns about the effectiveness of long-term dietary therapy in Celiac Sprue have prompted us to reassess our approach to this disease. For those of you who reside within reach of Stanford Medical Center, we invite you to visit us at the Celiac Management Clinic for an up-to-date assessment of the status of your Celiac condition. If you are the one out of every two healthy Celiacs with malabsorption, we will take a comprehensive approach to determine the reasons and to facilitate your return to complete remission.

If strict gluten exclusion is insufficient to achieve this, we offer other approaches. Indeed, by the end of this year or the beginning of 2007 in collaboration with the Celiac Sprue Research Foundation, we expect to be able to determine the effect of an oral pill therapy for those who continue with malabsorption of nutrients.

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Stanford accepts most PPO insurance and MediCal and MediCare outpatient coverages. Those who suspect they have Celiac Sprue based on symptoms or blood antibody tests will be seen by Dr. Gray, and those with biopsy-verified disease will be seen by Dr. Pyle. For an appointment, call 650-723-6961, and please state that you wish to see us at the Celiac Management Clinic.

Sincerely,

Gary M Gray, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Emeritus
(Gastroenterology)

References:

  • Pyle GG, Paaso, B Anderson, BE, Allen D, Marti T, Chaitan Khosla C, Gray, GM. Low-dose Gluten Challenge in Celiac Sprue: Malabsorptive and Antibody Responses. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 3: 679-686, 2005.
  • Pyle GG, Paaso, B Anderson, BE, Allen D, Marti T, Li Q, Matthew Siegel, M, Khosla C, Gray, GM. Effect of Pretreatment of Food Gluten With Prolyl Endopeptidase on Gluten-Induced Malabsorption in Celiac Sprue Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 3: 687-694, 2005.

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