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Found 17 results

  1. Celiac.com 10/06/2018 - In a recent discussion of Dangerous Grains, we (Mike and Ron) began to speculate about future prospects for those who are gluten sensitive. We talked about future directions for research into how gluten impacts on human health, the growing focus on celiac disease excluding gluten sensitivity, and whether grain consumption is a factor in health problems among those who are not gluten sensitive (according to currently available testing). This inevitably led to debate about whether gluten grains are harmful to all humans. In the context of this discussion, we agreed to write this article inviting further discussion of this matter and offering some suggestions to researchers and contributors to gluten-related research. These include several of our personal concerns and a number of questions that remain unanswered. Where is the research taking us? Perhaps the most important lesson that current research teaches is that a great deal more research is needed if we are to fully understand this ubiquitous hazard to human physical and mental health. There are several emerging trends in the research literature that warrant our attention and further investigation. For instance, celiac disease research has been conducted on the margins for so long that the recent, very rapid expansion of this field may have helped foster neglect of related and equally important research into non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Previous issues of the Scott-Free Newsletter have contained articles outlining the importance of extensive and appropriate testing (and subsequent dietary compliance) for those who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity as identified by a variety of tests including IgG ELISA testing for common food allergies. Further, our growing reliance upon endomysium or tissue transglutaminase antibody testing alone risks overlooking a significant portion of the population with celiac disease. Several reports indicate that in cases where serology testing is negative but symptoms and signs suggest celiac disease, a series of jejunal biopsies should also be taken and assessed by a pathologist who is familiar with celiac disease and uses the Marsh system for evaluating intestinal biopsies. Research into the oats question reveals that known toxic proteins in celiac disease are absent from oats. Yet one small study showed that a significant percentage of celiac patients will develop intestinal lesions characteristic of celiac disease from eating pure oats in the context of an otherwise gluten-free diet. This suggests that we have not yet identified all of the toxic proteins in gluten grains. Some current research is also aimed at developing similar grains without the toxic proteins found in regular gluten grains. The problems associated with oats research have a clear bearing on this issue as well. If celiac patients are developing intestinal lesions from pure oats, which have repeatedly been shown to lack the known toxic proteins, then we do not yet know all the harmful proteins. Thus, genetic development of “safe” wheat is not yet possible. Still, this research may help in the identification of additional toxic proteins. Current research has also led to a growing awareness, among the medical community and the general public, of the connections between gluten consumption and type I diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disease, osteoporosis and a host of previously unsuspected autoimmune ailments. This is raising many questions about the potential value of a gluten-free diet as part of the treatment protocol for many of these ailments. Current research into zonulin may be one of the most exciting areas of investigation. The work of Dr. Fasano and many others in this important area may well lead to a better understanding of the impact of gluten on schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, autism, bi-polar disorder, and a variety of ailments that have shown improvement on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. Where would we like to see the research go? Gluten research is largely overlooked by many of today’s scientists. Despite the growing body of research that discredits gluten grains as healthy foods, the widespread, erroneous assumption of their nutritional value continues to foster gluten consumption. There is a pressing need to dispel the myths that protectively shroud this issue. Our first priority is to see a clear delineation of the gluten-derived proteins and peptides that are currently known to threaten human health. The next logical step would be to initiate an extensive investigation of the various other gluten proteins and peptides in order to identify all of the harmful substances in gluten. The relevance of gluten research reaches far beyond the concerns of academia and the individuals diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. We now know that many health problems could be wholly or partly the result of gluten, making this field worthy of investigation as well. The driving force for people to pursue research of these topics might well be found in a broader awareness of the preliminary findings that connect this wide variety of health conditions to gluten consumption. Further research into this field would reveal many aspects of our current lifestyle. For instance, why are we facing such a widespread variety and increasing rates of psychoses? And how does gluten relate to the multitude of diseases, seldom seen until the advent of agriculture? Gathering more information about gluten and its effect on both gluten sensitive and non-gluten sensitive individuals may provide a greater understanding of modern illnesses. For instance, Dr. Hadjivassiliou’s extensive investigations of neurological diseases of unknown origin, in association with gluten sensitivity, reveal several important research concerns which include: Does current testing identify all important immune reactions to gluten? What other, as yet unidentified proteins are toxic to celiac patients? How often is gluten sensitivity/celiac disease considered in the context of these related ailments? What portion of the population is at risk of developing gluten sensitivity? What portion of the population is at risk of developing celiac disease? What other problems may be associated with gluten consumption? What is the cost-benefit of our escalating consumption of gluten? What vested interests are inhibiting the widespread recognition of health hazards associated with gluten consumption? Concurrent with this research, we would like to see investment in the development of safe, healthy, alternative food sources. Realistically, everyone would probably be better off on a diet of fruits, vegetables, and various meats. But is this possible for the world’s overwhelming and growing population? The necessary resources, including the cost to the consumer, would be prohibitive by current standards and methods of food production. New, more efficient food sources must be found, developed, and widely adopted. These foods must be a better fit with our evolutionary adaptations. This search will require considerable investment and social resolve. What questions should have priority? The question on peoples’ minds is how the research will directly affect them. This means that the research will have to explain the relevance of gluten proteins to such diseases as cancer, autoimmune disorders, obesity and food addiction. Each of these food-related topics is a common concern, widely discussed, and a key topic for gluten-related research. The many applications of food addiction research will attract widespread attention and discussion. The current spotlight on dieting in the popular press reflects a great deal of personal concern, among the general public, regarding this topic. Cancer and autoimmunity have been examined in great detail and a universal cure is still a distant dream. Yet the high rate of gluten sensitivity among these patients suggests a pressing need for research. Such investigations could provide a monumental step toward finding the causes and the explanations for these widespread, devastating health problems. Since these topics have yet to be explored, mainly due to limited research funding, a shift in research focus may yield the solutions to many of these conditions that plague our society. An important hurdle to overcome There is a dichotomy between governmental dietary recommendations that encourage gluten grain consumption and the growing body of research that discredits grains as a healthy food for a significant portion of the population. Unfortunately this is an area where progress is necessary for gluten research to really thrive. Since grain production, processing, and consumption constitute huge portions of various state economies, it is in the best interests of governing bodies to keep grains on everyone’s plate for many years to come. It will require a truly overwhelming body of knowledge, based on solid research proving the hazards of grains to topple the current, flawed structure of governmental dietary recommendations. Conclusion Without this vast array of research, leading to widespread recognition of the hazards of gluten, we can expect little social change. Thus, future prospects for gluten sensitive individuals may be somewhat dim. Increasing population densities may lead to escalating competition for finite food resources. Cheap and available foods derived from gluten grains will become increasingly attractive. Future generations of our families (remember that gluten sensitivity and celiac disease have a large genetic component) will be at risk. The best answer, as we see it, is to fund research aimed at the questions posed here, as well as those that arise out of these investigations. We have offered several directions that we consider important. Whether or not you agree with our priorities, we hope you agree that we need further research into the human health hazards posed by gluten grain consumption. This article was co-written by Mike Pearson.
  2. Celiac.com 12/11/2017 - With blazing progress in 3D printing technology, the future of numerous fields from house building to cake-making and, yes, cooking, is literally being written, or printed, before our very eyes. Food is definitely one of those arenas that will see major influence for 3d printing. In the future, more and more kitchens will come with one of more 3d printers that deliver highly customized food choices for chefs, on demand. Currently, platform for 3D printing personalized food are being developed for numerous applications, including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and other specialized diet markets. In a talk presented at the 3D Printing and Beyond: Current and Future Trends conference at Hebrew university on October 25, Prof. Ido Braslavsky presented breakthrough 3D-printing innovations by Israeli and international experts from academia and industry. The conference was organized by the 3D & Functional Printing Center at the Hebrew University and Yissum, with the support of the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and the Jerusalem Municipality. One breakthrough touted by Baslavsky was the ability to use 3D food printing to serve "numerous populations including the gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan markets, as well as the specialized diet market, for anyone from athletes to people with diabetes or celiac disease." In the very near future, chefs will be able to use a single machine to automatically prepare, mix, form and cook personalized food. Yaron Daniely, head of the university’s Yissum Research & Development technology-transfer company, called the technology nothing short of revolutionary. The self-assembly properties of nano-cellulose fibers enable the addition and binding of proteins, carbohydrates and fats as well as controlling the food’s texture. The food products could then be cooked, baked, fried or grilled while being printed out in the three dimensional space. "The idea is to enable full control of the substances used, for the purpose of creating healthy and tasty meals that can be eaten immediately. This has the potential to address a variety of challenges facing the field of nutrition, from the demand for personalized food … to addressing the problem of lack of food in developing countries," said Daniely. Will printed food be the future of eating, gluten-free and otherwise? Stay tuned for more news on that front. Read more at: Israel21c.org
  3. Celiac.com 09/19/2017 - Hookworms. Intestinal parasites. They sound gross. The thought of having one's gut infected with a parasitic worm generally makes people's skin crawl. Indeed, intestinal worms, like hookworm, have a bad reputation among health experts, and have been the subject of fierce public health campaigns seeking their eradication. However, researchers have also documented the gut healing abilities of parasites like hookworm. In fact, part of how hookworms seem to work in nature is to promote an optimal gut environment in which they can thrive. In nature, the guts of people infected with hookworm are generally healthy. Could hookworms and other intestinal parasites prove key to treating and possibly eliminating diseases like celiac, and asthma? A number of clinicians and researchers feel that if they can just get the right strain of hookworm, at the right levels, they can basically eradicate celiac disease, and possibly asthma and other inflammatory diseases. When hookworms are introduced into the gut of people with celiac disease in the right amount, and kept at therapeutic levels, patients see their celiac symptoms disappear and their guts return to a healthy, normal condition. In fact, hookworms do not reproduce once inside the human gut, so if doctors put , say, 10 hookworms into a gut to treat celiac disease, there will be 10 there later, not more. In nature, the way humans build up dangerous levels of hookworm is via unsanitary environmental conditions and repeated exposure to more hookworms. Done clinically, the hookworm would present little or no danger to the human who was hosting it. While still very much in the experimental phase, researchers hope to investigate a number of strains to determine the best therapeutic levels for such disease treatments. For that, they will need FDA approval. Remember, the fecal transplant was first described in the 1950s, but took decades to catch on as a conventional treatment for gut disorders, such as c-dif bacteria, partly because it was seen as crude and somehow objectionable. But it proved to work. Really well. So much so that it's now a fairly conventional treatment. Could the hookworm follow a similar path from crude and weird to cool and effective? Could hookworms be used to cure celiac disease? Only close study will tell us for sure, and that's why the move to get FDA approval is an important one. For that, special strains of hookworm must be approved. "One of the big roadblocks is having the parasites that the FDA will allow you to infect people with," says John Hawdon, vice president of the American Society of Parasitologists and a researcher at the George Washington University. He and his colleagues are applying for permission to grow hookworm larvae to standards fit for testing in humans, which is not currently permitted in the United States. Hawdon says he anticipates a lengthy application process. Stay tuned for news on efforts to develop hookworm as a potential cure to celiac disease, asthma, and more. Sources: popsci.com iflscience.com
  4. Celiac.com 08/17/2017 - Anyone who knows their oats will tell you Nairn's is a familiar name in the industry. The iconic Scottish grocery brand began making that name as Nairn's Oatcakes in 1896, when John and Sarah Nairn set up a village bakery in Strathaven, Lanarkshire. More than 120 years later, it has grown from cottage industry to large-scale production, with about 150 workers, and revenues in excess of £27 million this past year. But consumer tastes, and challenges in production, retail and marketing all press the firm to adjust operations to keep pace, according to managing director Martyn Gray. Gray says that, as business has grown, the company has "had to look at specialists in each department because, it's not just a small family business now, we are a good medium-sized business that needs to adapt to the markets that we're now in." In addition to its core oatcakes and biscuits, the firm also sells products under the Simmers header, including Abernethy and Butter Biscuits, with an additional gluten-free range providing a key growth driver. Nairn's has said it is in the process of investing £6m in a new gluten-free manufacturing operation after the existing one proved unable to meet growing demand. However, with manufacturing becoming increasingly automated, the company saw a notable reduction in both permanent and temporary staff. In addition to being the UK's top oatcake producer, Edinburgh-based Nairn's, has become the UK's second-largest gluten-free producer according to Mintel, having entered the sector in 2010 from what Gray calls a "standing start." Gray says the new gluten-free facility will meet demand and "bring a pipeline of new products currently in development to market. In turn, this will protect and enhance the sustainability of the entire business." Gray admits that such expansion is a double-edged sword, offering both the chance to accelerate revenues, but with other players keen to take a cut themselves. "The market is very, very competitive," he says, but sees its long-term viability as highly positive. Nairn's also said the UK gluten-free market was worth nearly £500 million and was expected to see growth of more than 40 per cent in coming years. Much of that growth will be driven by gluten-free oat products. Read more at: Scottsman.com
  5. Celiac.com 03/31/2017 - Imagine going to restaurants in the future and having your gluten-free food made and prepared to order using a 3D printer. That's the future envisioned by WASP, an Italian company on a mission to use 3D printing technology to solve serious problems that afflict people. WASP is in the business of improving quality of life through 3D printing, from spinal care to architecture to athletics, including their latest effort with celiac disease. Inspired by the opening of a 3D printed pop-up restaurant, Food Ink., WASP wants to allow restaurants to easily set up gluten-free kitchens inside their regular kitchens; something that is currently a challenging and expensive task. WASP envisions dedicated 3D printing equipment strictly for preparing gluten-free foods, with no risk of contamination from the other food prep equipment in the rest of the kitchen. To achieve their goals, the company enlisted the help of Francesco Favorito, a chef who specializes in gluten-free foods and who founded Zeroinpiú, a line of gluten-free flour and pastry mixes. Favorito devised a special gluten-free pastry mix, which he then put into a modified a DeltaWASP 20 40 by incorporating an extruder that heated and pre-cooked the mix during extrusion. The products were then finished in normal oven. At Sigep, a baking and coffee expo held each January, the WASP 3d food printer stirred considerable interest from attendees. Another demonstration of the printer was given at Carnival in Opificio Golinelli at the beginning of February, this time with the participation of Francesco Bombardi, an architect, designer and the founder of Fab Lab Reggio Emilia. Bombardi is also the founder of Officucina, a specialized space dedicated to food innovation and equipped with 3D printers, lasers, and other advanced technology. WASP says it learned a great deal from the early trials. For example, adding heated butter increases fluidity and helps the mixture extrude more smoothly. WASP notes that, even though the printer's main purpose is to create safe gluten-free foods for people with celiac disease, it can also be used to create complex shapes that would be impossible using normal methods. Are you ready for some 3D printed gluten-free food from your favorite restaurant? Stay tuned for updates on this and other stories about gluten-free end celiac-friendly food technology. Source: 3DPrint.com
  6. Celiac.com 03/22/2017 - A new study published in the journal Food Chemistry shows that even the ancient varieties of wheat that have not been subject to hybridization, contain toxic epitopes that trigger adverse autoimmune response in celiac patients. What makes gluten toxic to people with celiac disease? Also, what is the relationship between various kinds of wheat and their celiac toxicity? To answer those questions, a team of researchers analyzed various kinds of wheat from several countries, all produced in the same agronomic year (2013-2014) at the Experimental Station at the Agronomic, Food and Biosystems School of Madrid. Their study focused on a specific set of proteins in gluten, called gliadins. Marta Rodríguez-Quijano, a researcher at the Technical University of Madrid and one of the writers behind the study, says that "gliadins have the greatest clinical effect against the innate and adaptive immune responses that lead to coeliac disease." However, the specific type of gliadins differ among the many varieties of wheat. The scientists assessed the presence of T-lymphocytes (immune cells that are related to celiac disease) in the various kinds of wheat) by using an antibody capable of recognizing toxic epitopes or antigenic determinants. Their data shows that the different varieties of wheat produce considerably different immune responses depending on the T-cells analyzed. Certain wheat varieties, such as the French "Pernel' T. aestivum ssp. vulgare L., have low toxic epitope content," explains Rodríguez-Quijano, which means that they are less likely to trigger a strong immune reaction in people with celiac disease. This study provides the scientific basis for using such epitopes to design and breed wheat products that are safe for people with celiac disease. A successful effort in this arena will help to "combat the poor nutritional and technological characteristics of gluten-free products and thereby contribute to improving patients' quality of life," says Rodríguez-Quijano. This researchers are not alone in their efforts to create wheat strains that are safe for people with celiac disease. A similar project is under way in Kansas, with researchers working with the University and industry support to evaluate wheat strains that may be suitable for people with celiac disease. Will the future mean safe wheat for people with celiac disease? Stay tuned for developments on this and related stories.
  7. Celiac.com 12/28/2012 - Sourdough bread is made by a long fermentation of dough using naturally occurring yeasts and lactobacilli. Compared with regular breads, sourdough usually has a sour taste due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli. Sourdough fermentation helps improve bread quality by prolonging shelf life, increasing loaf volume, delaying staling, as well as by improving bread flavor and nutritional properties. However, sourdough isn't just good for making better bread. Recent studies show that sourdough fermentation can also speed gut healing in people with celiac disease at the start of a gluten-free diet. Over the past few years researchers have been experimenting with sourdough fermentation as a means for making traditional wheat bread safe for people with celiac disease. Recently, yet another study examined the safety of this process with great results. "While the study was small, it did show that individuals with celiac disease who ate specially prepared sourdough wheat bread over the course of 60 days experienced no ill effects." Obviously, larger and more detailed studies need to be carried out, but the early results are intriguing. In the meantime, sourdough bread made with gluten-free flours might be the best way for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity to get the benefits of sourdough cultures, and to enjoy fresh, minimally processed bread. Of course, not everyone can bake their own sourdough bread. That's why I was happy to learn that more artisanal bread bakers are turning to baking their own delicious gluten-free sourdough to share with others. One of these small, artisanal bread makers is a local San Francisco baker named Sadie Scheffer, who runs a company called BreadSRSLY. Sadie bakes delicious long-fermented sourdough bread and other products, using gluten-free grains. She delivers most of her products by bicycle. Having sampled Sadie's bread, and I can say that it is some of the best sourdough bread I've tasted, gluten-free or not. It isdelicious, dense, and chewy sourdough bread that is perfect for toasting. The loaves are fermented for twelve hours before baking. Folks in San Francisco can find Sadie's delicious gluten-free sourdough bread at BiRite, Gluten Free Grocery and Other Avenues, and at breadsrsly.com. Until science establishes the safety of wheat-based sourdough for people with celiac disease, I think that long-fermented sourdough bread, made with gluten-free flour, represents the future of gluten-free bread for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. Here's a recipe for gluten-free sourdough starter. Other helpful links: Celiacs Can Say Yes To Sourdough Bread Study Finds Wheat-based Sourdough Bread Started with Selected Lactobacilli is Tolerated by Celiac Disease Patients Can Sourdough Fermentation Speed Intestinal Recovery in Celiac Patients at Start of Gluten-free Diet? Sourdough Bread Made from Wheat and Nontoxic Flours and Started with Selected Lactobacilli Is Tolerated in Celiac Sprue Patients The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking
  8. Celiac.com 12/09/2016 - Can the high fiber waste from coffee production be used to create an environmentally friendly gluten-free flour? Coffee cherries are the fat, pulpy coating around the famous coffee bean. When coffee is harvested, the cherry is removed and discarded before the beans are processed and roasted. Given that more than 17 billion pounds of coffee beans are harvested, fermented and dried each year, that's a great deal of coffee cherry waste. Too much, in fact, for farmers to merely plow back into their fields, as is commonly done. Formulated by former Starbucks executive Dan Belliveau in 2012, coffee flour is transforms that leftover waste into a high quality flour that not only happens to be free of wheat, rye or barley proteins, it happens to have high levels of natural gluten that makes it ideal for baking. Belliveau's patent-pending process collects the cherries and converts them into a nutrient-dense, gluten-free flour. Coffee flour contains five times more fiber than wholewheat flour, three times the protein of fresh kale, and twice potassium of bananas. The final product does not taste anything like coffee, but has a mild flavor of burnt sugar due to its high sugar content. It is also low in caffeine. Founded to commercialize coffee flour, CF Global Holdings contracted Ecom Ago Industrial Inc and Mercon Coffee Group to collect and process coffee cherries from farmers and millers in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Vietnam, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico. The latest yield was about 2 million pounds of dried coffee cherry pulp from the 2015/2016 crop, double the previous harvest yield. The company employs a multistep milling process to grind the cherries into flour of sufficient quality for commercial use. The process can be taken further to produce a flour with the consistency of icing sugar consistency. Carole Widmayer, VP of marketing told Bakeryandsnacks.com that "Coffee flour can [already] be found in muffins, cookies and brownies at Sprouts, brownies and cookies in cafes at Google and HSBC operated by Compass, as well as in Seattle Chocolate chocolate bars and Earnest Eats energize cereals. So, will coffee flour be the next big gluten-free, environmentally friendly big thing? It looks to be well on its way. Read more at bakeryandsnacks.com.
  9. Hey guys! I’m a graphic design junior, and we are in the first semester of our capstone. My mom was diagnosed with celiac, so I’m really passionate about helping make the post diagnosis life a little easier. I’m not sure what specific problem within celiac disease to tackle. I have found it helpful to talk to those with celiac about what they find most frustrating or challenging. If anyone has any suggestions on what is most frustrating or what you wished you had to help, it would be much much appreciated!
  10. Celiac.com 10/18/2012 - Currently, there is no convenient way for people with celiac disease to test food for gluten content. In an effort to change that, University researchers in Spain are using Sunrise™ absorbance readers by Tecan, together with Magellan™ V4.0 software to create an accurate, easy to use sensor that can test for gluten in food. Maria Isabel Pividori from the Sensors and Biosensors Group at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona confirmed the development of the "electrochemical magneto immunosensor for the sensitive detection of gliadin – and small gliadin fragments – in natural or pretreated foods.” Gliadin is the main protein trigger for celiac disease. The sensor is an important step toward addressing "increasing demand for rapid, simple and low cost techniques for accurate food analysis in decentralized analytical situations," said Pividori. The research team measured the performance of the electrochemical immuno-sensor by comparing it with a new magneto-ELISA, using optical detection performed on the Sunrise plate reader. The team conducted ELISAs in 96-well microplates, using a magnetic separation plate to isolate the supernatant before measuring the absorbance in the Sunrise reader. This enabled the team to conduct immunoassays in a number of various formats for multiple applications – such as evaluating protein coupling to magnetic beads and nanoparticles – as well as allowing assessment of different transducer materials for bio-sensing purposes. Because it offers "a quick and easy way to optimize reagents and assay parameters," Pividori calls the Sunrise "ideal for research applications." So just how far off is a commercially viable device that will allow people with celiac disease to test gluten levels in their food? Only time will tell, but stay tuned for more developments as researchers try to deliver such a device. Meantime, let us know what you think. Would you like a device that could easily and accurately test food for gluten? Would such a device make your gluten-free life better or easier? Comment below to let us know your thoughts. Full details of this study can be found in: Laube T et al. Biosens Bioelectron, 2011, 27, 46-52. Source: Labmate-online
  11. In my work as an author, researcher, and gluten-free advocate, I strive to raise awareness for celiac disease and gluten intolerance because I know that with increased awareness will come more research, more proper diagnoses, and even improved treatment. Illustrating this, studies linking the onset of celiac disease to changes in microbes in the digestive tract are not only addressing the question of delayed onset, but they may lead to new research that could eventually result in a probiotic treatment for celiacs. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. The source of this being gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, affecting about one percent of the population of 300 million Americans. It works by attacking the villi, the finger-like structures which line the small intestine, resulting in stomach problems and malabsorption of nutrients. Left untreated, the disease can cause severe health conditions and complications such as mental illness, osteoporosis, anemia, miscarriage, and even cancer. Alessio Fasano, professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology as well as the director of the Mucosal Biology Research Center and the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has been researching celiac disease, paying particular attention to the way intestinal “permeability” influences the development of disease. In an article, published in Scientific American, called “Surprises from Celiac Disease,” Dr. Fasano poses the question of why some celiacs, who are born genetically predisposed to develop the disease, develop symptoms later than others. He suggests that reason for this is associated with the microbiome—the community of bacteria or microbes—living in the digestive tract. According to Dr. Fasano, the digestive tract microbiome varies among individuals and even in the same individual over the course of a lifetime. What’s more, Dr. Fasano says they can also have an effect on the genes which are active in their host. Therefore, someone genetically predisposed to celiac disease may have been able to handle gluten for quite some time, but upon shifting of the microbiome, and a subsequent activation of the gluten intolerance gene, the symptoms of celiac disease will show themselves. Not only do Dr. Fasano’s studies shed light into a question that has been perplexing researchers, but it also opens the door to a treatment for, or even prevention of, celiac disease—good bacteria for the digestive track, otherwise known as “probiotics.” I spent years running in circles from doctor to doctor trying to find the cause of my painful symptoms, finally driving me to research my symptoms on my own. I’m grateful to have been properly diagnosed, but managing the gluten-free diet can be a challenge. The prospect of a treatment such as probiotics to offset genetic factors will appeal to many celiacs like myself. Although the treatment for celiac disease is simple, it calls for a lot of work and can be disheartening at times, requiring a total lifestyle change. With Dr. Fasano’s celiac disease research, we can look forward to more research, more awareness, and perhaps another treatment option. Meanwhile, let’s keep doing our parts to raise awareness and funds for celiac disease research.
  12. Celiac.com 06/19/2013 - Currently, immunosuppressant drugs are the only real treatment option for most autoimmune disorders, such as celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes. However, researchers are busily exploring the possibilities offered therapeutic vaccines, known as antigen-specific immunotherapy. ImmusanT is one company working to develop a vaccine that will allow patients with celiac disease to safely eat gluten (the antigen). That vaccine is presently undergoing clinical trials. ImmusanT and its research partners are looking to build on their expertise in celiac disease to improve their understanding of antigen-specific immunotherapy for other autoimmune diseases. In Current Opinion in Immunology, researchers Bob Anderson and Bana Jabri describe how identification of pathogenic T cell epitopes (segment of the antigen) and recent initiatives to optimize immune monitoring have helped drive rational vaccine design in human autoimmune diseases. Celiac disease has provided researchers with the first opportunity to design and test epitope-specific immunotherapy with a thorough understanding of disease-causing T cell epitopes. This approach offers "truly customized immunotherapy for patients with celiac disease according to their genetics and the molecular specificity of their immune response to gluten," said Bob Anderson, PhD, MBChB, Chief Scientific Officer of ImmusanT. Because celiac disease shares key features, such as susceptibility genes, presence of autoantibodies and destruction of specific cells, with other autoimmune disorders, like Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, it provides a model for understanding and exploring the triggers and drivers of autoimmunity, in general, write Drs. Bana Jabri and Ludvig Sollid in the Perspectives section in Nature Reviews Immunology. By factoring in the association with the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), post-translation modifications, the antigen and the tissue, researchers can design methods that help to the spot potential drivers of autoimmune disease. Because peptide-specific therapy specifically targets the immune cells that drive the disease process, "it offers the potential to prevent and cure disease, without inducing general immunosuppression," said Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, Director, University of Chicago Celiac Center; Professor, Department of Medicine, Pathology and Pediatrics, University of Chicago; and Senior Scientific Advisor to ImmusanT. Ludvig M. Sollid, MD, PhD, is Director, Centre for Immune Regulation; Professor of Medicine, Department of Immunology, University of Oslo; Consultant, Oslo University Hospital-Rikshospitalet; and member of ImmusanT's Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Jabri is Co-Chair of the 15(th) International Celiac Disease Symposium to be hosted by the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, September 22-25, 2013. The event will draw the world's top scientists and physicians to discuss the most recent scientific advances in managing and treating celiac disease and gluten-related disorders.
  13. Gastroenterology 2005;129:797-806,1111-1113. Celiac.com 10/28/2005 – According to Dutch researchers, it may be possible to produce varieties of wheat that are safe for people with celiac disease. Dr. Spaenij-Dekking of Leiden University Medical Center and colleagues examined public databases that contained data on the many different varieties of wheat gluten proteins which can be found in wheat. Their goal was to identify the wheat varieties that contained the lowest levels of T-cell- stimulatory epitopes. The researchers found that the level of toxicity of the different types of wheat varies greatly, and the more ancient and grass-like the variety the less T-cell- stimulatory epitopes it contained, and conversely, the more modern the variety the greater its level of toxicity for those with celiac disease. They concluded that the use of selective breeding and screening could create a variety of wheat that is safe for those with celiac disease, and one that could prevent disease in those who are at risk.
  14. Celiac.com 03/11/2010 - Many people are confused about which tests provide the most accurate results for a celiac disease diagnosis. In a recent study by a team at the Department of Gastroenternology and Internal Medicine, St. Orsola-Malpigihi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, researchers evaluated current testing methods, and made some conclusions about celiac testing that may shed light on the subject for those of us overwhelmed by current conflicting information. Duodenal biopsy is considered to be the universal 'gold standard' for celiac diagnosis. However, in recent years the importance of serological testing has been been emphasized as a reliable marker for antibodies as well. The tTG antibodies of IgA class are currently recognized to be the most effective test for celiac screening, resulting in up to 95% accuracy. Although, a new serological test, DGP, is now being investigated as a more reliable alternative to tTG. A study was devised to compare the effectiveness of DGP antibodies with that of tTG antibodies, and used a meta-analysis of eleven studies that were published between 1998 and 2008. The study analyzed the results of 937 patients with untreated celiac, and 1,328 control subjects. The analysis of the eleven studies showed that IgA tTG antibodies revealed a higher likelihood ratio (LR) than IgA DGP antibodies, and IgA tTG antibodies exhibited a lower LR than IgA DGP antibodies. The data between the two antibody tests validates that IgA tTG continues to display the most accurate diagnostic tests for a positive celiac diagnosis, as well as for excluding a negative celiac diagnosis. However IgG DGP antibody tests were shown to be more effective at identifying 'false negatives' and had more success in determining celiac in patients that had IgA deficiency, and in children under two years old. The results of these tests clearly demonstrate that IgA DGP does not offer any advantages to the IgA tTG antibodies, and is actually less accurate and more expensive. However, IgG DGP antibodies present an invaluable tool in screening for celiac disease in cases where IgA tTG tests fail. Eventually, a new antibody screening will hopefully be designed which combines IgA tTG and IgG DGP, and reduces the number of tests currently used in celiac screening. However, intestinal biopsy is always required to confirm the presence of celiac disease no matter what serological tests are involved. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20136587
  15. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004 May 13 Piper JL, Gray GM, Khosla C. Stanford University. Celiac.com 11/28/2004 - A study by researchers at Stanford University looked at the ability of Prolyl endopeptidase (PEP)--a specific type of enzyme--to break down gliadin peptides in a living organism--rats. In an effort to determine whether a resistance to the break down of proteins by proteases enzymes is the cause of toxicity of the Pro- and Gln-rich peptides, the scientists analyzed the digestive resistance of a panel of alpha and gamma-gliadin peptides that are believed to induce gluten toxicity--all of which happen to be very resistant to gastric and pancreatic protease digestion--but can be broken down by intestinal brush border peptidases. The researchers determined that supplementation of PEP substantially reduced the concentrations of these peptides, and they determined a pharmacologically useful PEP dosage. According to the researchers: "This data verifies and extends our earlier proposal that gliadin peptides, while resistant to proteolysis, can be processed efficiently by PEP supplementation. Indeed, PEP may be able to treat Celiac Sprue by reducing or eliminating such peptides from the intestine."
  16. Celiac.com 10/28/2005 - Alba Therapeutics Corporation (Alba) today announced successful completion of its first Phase I trial for the drug candidate AT-1001, and that the FDA has granted Fast Track designation to AT-1001 for treatment of celiac disease. We are pleased to have concluded our first human study of oral AT-1001 and delighted that the FDA has granted fast track status to AT-1001. These two events are important additional milestones in our efforts to help those suffering from celiac disease, a disease for which there is no effective treatment, said Blake Paterson, MD, President and CEO of Alba. Alba plans to begin a proof of concept study demonstrating efficacy of AT-1001 in celiac patients within the next few months. Fast track process is designed to facilitate development and expedite the review of new drugs with the potential to address significant unmet medical needs for the treatment of serious or life-threatening conditions. Potential fast track benefits include FDA input into development, submitting new drug applications in sections rather than all at once and the option of requesting Accelerated Approval. About Celiac Disease Celiac disease is a T-cell mediated auto-immune disease that occurs in genetically susceptible individuals and is characterized by small intestinal inflammation, injury and intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in common food grains such as wheat, rye and barley. According to the NIH, celiac disease affects approximately 3 million Americans, although the diagnosis is rarely made. The only treatment for celiac disease is complete elimination of gluten from the diet, which results in remission for some patients. About Zonulin Zonulin is an endogenous signaling protein that transiently and reversibly opens the tight junctions (tj) between the cells of epithelial and endothelial tissues such as the intestinal mucosa, blood brain barrier and pulmonary epithelia. Discovered by Alba co-founder Dr. Alessio Fasano, zonulin appears to be involved in many disease states in which leakage occurs via paracellular transport across epithelial and endothelial tight junctions (tj), and thus may play an important potential role in the treatment of auto-immune diseases. About Alba Alba Therapeutics Corporation is a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Baltimore, Maryland. Alba is dedicated to commercializing disease-modifying therapeutics and drug delivery adjuvants based on the zonulin pathway. Albas lead molecule, AT-1001, is targeted towards the treatment of Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes. Contact: Dr. Blake Paterson Alba Therapeutics Corporation 410-522-8708
  17. Gastroenterology, Oct 2003, Vol 125, No 4, p1264-67 Celiac.com 10/08/2003 - An article by Vader et al. published in the October 2003 edition of the journal Gastroenterology discusses recent insights into celiac disease pathogenesis, and the possibility of detoxifying gluten for celiacs. After describing the toxic process of gluten peptides in celiacs in some detail, Vader et al. examined the possibility of detoxifying gluten in the wheat kernel: "The effect of comparable substitutions in the immunodominant 9-gliadin epitope. One mutation, consisting in the substitution of a glutamine (residue) by a proline residue, decreased T cell recognition. Further: "Interestingly, given the similarities between the respective codons for glutamine and proline, this substitution was achieved by changing a single nucleotide at the DNA level. This mutation, resulting in an exchange between the 2 most frequent amino acids in prolamins, suggests that detoxification of gluten might be achievable by site-directed mutagenesis of wheat without affecting the unique baking properties of gluten." They go on by emphasizing that due to the complexity of the amino acid sequences found in wheat, achieving a detoxified wheat using this method would be difficult. Later in the article Shan et al. propose detoxifying gluten in the intestine of a celiac with "a peptidase therapy based on the use of a bacterial endoprolyl protease." Although this therapy has been tested as effective in rats, it has not yet been tested in humans. Further: "Using intestinal biopsies mounted in Using chambers, we have observed that several gliadin-derived peptides, including the 33 mer, can be efficiently degraded into amino acids during their epithelial transport and processing in control patients and in patients on a gluten-free diet, arguing against a major intrinsic intestinal defect of proteolysis of proline-rich peptides. The situation was different in patients with active disease in which a significant amount of peptide entered undigested into the mucosa. In the latter cases, however, it remains unclear whether entrance of the intact peptides was related only to altered epithelial processing or favored by a more active mechanism that remains to be elucidated." So this also may not be an effective way to detoxify gluten. Finally the article explores the possibility of treating the disease using vaccinotherapy which would be based on the central role of the adaptive antigluten T-cell response: "Senger et al. observed that intranasal administration of whole gliadin or of one of its isoforms could partially inhibit the systemic T-cell response to the parenteral challenge by whole gliadins in HLA-DQ8-transgenic mice." Further: "Using unmodified gluten, however, entails an important risk of enhancing immunization. An alternative strategy might be to develop peptide analogues able to interfere with HLA-class II binding and T-cell activation and to redirect the immune response toward tolerance. This approach has been successful in several experimental models of autoimmune diseases and has provided encouraging results in patients with multiple sclerosis." These type of therapies, however, run the risk of enhancing immunization instead of promoting tolerance. The article concludes in a hopeful tone: "Although the ultimate goal of producing wheat deprived of toxicity remains remote and perhaps inaccessible, our broadening knowledge of celiac disease pathogenesis offers a growing number of alternative strategies to the gluten-free diet. Much work, hopefully soon supported by the development of an accurate animal model, is needed to evaluate the feasibility, efficiency, and risks of these approaches. In the vast majority of cases, celiac disease is a benign disease. Its current treatment, although constraining, is safe and efficient, and the cost and benefits of any other treatment will require a thorough appraisal. Furthermore, one unresolved key issue is to simply define who deserves treatment. The wide clinical spectrum of the disease might reflect a wide level of individual sensitivity, some of which could be compatible with a normal diet. Epidemiologic studies providing a precise appraisal of the risk of complications are therefore needed to substantiate the need of a treatment in individuals with silent or pauci-symptomatic disease determined by serologic studies."
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