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Celiac.com 07/11/2016 - Collagenous sprue is a rare form of small bowel enteropathy characterized by a thickened basement membrane and is considered to be directly related to celiac disease. Doctors have numerous treatment strategies for celiac sprue, but there is currently no effective standardized therapy. One medical team recently described four cases of celiac sprue and proposes thioguanine (6-TG) treatment, based on their results. The research team included Tom van Gils, Tine van de Donk, Gerd Bouma, Foke van Delft, E Andra Neefjes-Borst, and Chris JJ Mulder. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The team reviewed 4 cases of celiac sprue. They got their data from the prospective database of patients referred to their celiac centre. The team had an expert pathologist evaluate the small bowel biopsies. None of the patients had ever shown celiac-specific antibodies, and all were negative for HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 phenotype. Three patients were treated with a combination of 6-TG and budesonide, and 1 patient received 6-TG only. All patients improved remarkably. They found normalized thickening of the basement membrane in 2 patients, and complete histological improvement, including full recovery of villi, in 1 patient. In the third patient, the thickened basement membrane was only very focally recognized. The thickened membrane remained in the last patient, likely due to the short follow-up time. Celiac sprue should be separated from celiac disease. Based on the lack of typical HLA phenotyping and the absence of celiac-specific antibodies, there seems to be no relation with celiac disease in these four patients. A promising treatment option might be 6-TG with or without budesonide. Larger study groups are needed to develop an effective standardized treatment for celiac sprue. This is exciting for folks with celiac sprue, as they previously had no good treatment options at all. Source: BMJ Open Gastro 2016; 3:e000099. doi:10.1136/bmjgast-2016-000099
Celiac.com 05/24/2016 - People with type II refractory celiac disease (RCD), suffer from severe malabsorption syndrome and face a poor prognosis, as there is currently no effective treatment. Prompted by the regenerative and immune-influencing properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a research team recently set out to assess the viability, safety, and efficacy of a series of infusions of autologous bone marrow-derived MSCs in a 51-year-old woman with type II RCD. The research team included R Ciccocioppo, A Gallia, MA Avanzini, E Betti, C Picone, A Vanoli, C Paganini, F Biagi, R Maccario, and GR Corazza. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Internal Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo and Università degli Studi di Pavia, the Department of Internal Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo and Università degli Studi di Pavia, the Cell Factory and Research Laboratory, Department of Pediatrics, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo and Università degli Studi di Pavia, the Clinic Cytometry Laboratory, Department of Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo and Università degli Studi di Pavia, Department of Molecular Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo and Università degli Studi di Pavia, all in Pavia, Italy. The team began by isolating, expanding, and characterizing mesenchymal stem cells using standard clinical protocols. For each patient, the team arranged to monitor malabsorption indexes, mucosal architecture, and percentage of aberrant intraepithelial lymphocytes at the time of enrollment, at each infusion, and after 6 months. The also arranged to assess mucosal expression of interleukin (IL)-15 and its receptor. Once the team determined that the expansion of MSCs was feasible, they provided the patient with four systemic infusions of 2 × 106 MSCs per kg body weight 4 months apart, with no adverse effects. Over the course of the treatment, the patient experienced gradual and durable improvement of her condition, including normalized stool frequency, body mass index, laboratory test results, and mucosal architecture. Most impressively, the expression of IL-15 and its receptor almost completely vanished. Based on this clinical case, treatment of RCD with serial MSC infusions seems to offer a path to recovery from this life-threatening condition, while blocking the IL-15 pathogenic pathway. This is the first successful treatment of refractory celiac disease. Stay tuned for further developments regarding the use of stem cell infusions to treat refractory celiac disease. Source: Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Apr 14. pii: S0025-6196(16)30004-0. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.03.001.