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Jefferson Adams posted an article in Additional Celiac Disease ConcernsCeliac.com 09/25/2015 - Are anti-GMO campaigners blocking gluten-free wheat that could help people with celiac disease? There's an interesting blog post by Daniel Norero in Biology Fortified. The blog post claims that a type of GM wheat that may improve the quality of life for celiac patients has faced opposition from anti-GMO campaigners who oppose approval and commercialization of the product. Certainly, producing a variety of gluten-free wheat offers one alternative to avoiding gluten. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to create a baking-quality gluten-free wheat strain using conventional techniques such as selection and hybridization. That reality led a team of Spanish scientists, headed by Dr. Francisco Barro, to use RNA interference (RNAi) to deactivate or delete the genes in wheat that produce the gliadin proteins. By 2011, the team had created four strains of wheat with particularly low amounts of gliadins, which produced in people with celiac disease a reaction up to 95% less toxic than the one produced by standard wheat. Two of those wheat strains, E82 and D793, showed gliadin reductions of about 96% and 97% respectively. For people with celiac disease, this would equate to a safe maximum daily consumption of bread up to 43.6 and 66.9 grams per day. The blog entry goes on to say that, despite the opportunity presented by this GM crop to improve the quality of life of celiac patients, problems have arisen at the approval and commercialization stages, largely due to opposition from Spanish and European anti-GMO activists. Norero then quotes from blog post by Jose Miguel Mulet, a Spanish plant scientist from CSIC: "How can it be that a technology created with Spanish public funds end up in the hands of a private American company? Because of the aberrant anti-GMO European law. No European or Spanish company is interested in commercially developing this wheat due to obstacles in the authorization process…The result: licensing rights have been acquired by the…Dow Agrosciences, given that the authorization process in the United States is much easier." Norero makes an interesting read. It's certainly possible that some type of genetic modification could benefit people with celiac disease. However, it's unclear how a wheat with a 95-97% reduction in gluten toxicity would relate to the current 20ppm total gluten allowed by U.S. law, or exactly what the nature of the alleged benefits for celiacs might be. What do you think? Should genetically modified wheat be permitted if it's helpful to people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Or no, should there be no GMO wheat, no matter the claimed benefits?
Jefferson Adams posted an article in Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance ResearchCeliac.com 03/18/2011 - By blocking an inflammatory protein called interleukin-15 (IL-15), doctors may be able to treat and prevent symptoms of celiac disease in some people, according to a new study in the journal Nature. The data suggest that the inflammatory response to gluten in people with celiac disease may be triggered by interleukin-15 and retinoic acid, which is a derivative of vitamin A. The team notes that researchers previously thought that retinoic acid would lessen the inflammation in the intestine. Instead their study showed that it might actually worsen inflammation. According to Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, a member of the Celiac Disease Center and Comprehensive cancer Center at the University of Chicago, the team results showed that "elevated levels of IL-15 in the gut could initiate all the early stages of celiac disease in those who were genetically susceptible, and that blocking IL-15 could prevent the disease in our mouse model. It also demonstrated that in the treatment of inflammatory intestinal diseases, vitamin A and its retinoic acid metabolites are likely to do more harm than good.” The researchers found that by blocking IL-15 in mice that were genetically engineered to have celiac disease, they were able to reverse the symptoms, and the mice were able to eat gluten without suffering the symptoms of celiac disease. One reason this is good news, is that a number of medicines designed to block IL-15 are already being developed for other inflammation related diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Source: Nature. 2011 Mar 10;471(7337):220-4.