Traveling with Celiac Disease

Three components of gluten accounted for most of the immune response seen in people with celiac disease, Prof. Bob Anderson of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research reported in Thursday’s issue of Science Translational Medicine. Researchers discovered gluten was an environmental cause of celiac disease 60 years ago. “In the years since, the holy grail in celiac disease research has been to identify the toxic peptide components of gluten, and that’s what we’ve done,” Anderson said. “It changes the way that we understand celiac disease.” In the study, 244 people with celiac disease in Australia and the United Kingdom ate bread, rye muffins or boiled barley over three days. About a week later, blood samples were taken to measure the strength of their immune responses. The findings could be used to develop a treatment, known as peptide-based immunotherapy. It involves injecting people with celiac disease with the toxic peptides to gradually build up their tolerance. It would be a “miracle” if people with celiac disease could stop worrying about accidentally eating gluten, said Geraldine Georgeou, a dietitian on the board of Australia’s Gut Foundation. “That could be quite a way off unfortunately,” said Georgeou, who has celiac disease herself. Georgeou continues to advise people to eat a gluten-free diet and take care to avoid trace amounts in restaurant or takeout foods. It is estimated that one in 133 persons in Canada is affected by celiac disease, according to the Canadian Celiac Association. Common symptoms include anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps, bloating and irritability. The research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, Coeliac UK, the Coeliac Research Fund, Nexpep Pty Ltd., BTG International and the Victoria provincial government in Australia. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines .

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First Ever Celiac Disease Vaccine Trials Underway in Australia

Fortunately, thats not really the case. Dr. Alessio Fasano , leader of the University of Marylands Center for Celiac Research , says nearly 1 percent of the world population actually has celiac, but some places are more attuned to it than others. Countries with an increased sensitivity to the disease provide hope for wheat-averse travelers who wantto indulge their wanderlustandeat like royalty. According to Fasano, all of the Scandinavian countries are all well aware of the disease, as are many Mediterranean nations. Is there life beyond pasta in Italy? Si! (Photograph by Taylor Gianangelo, My Shot) In Italy, for example, the government screens for celiac in children by the time they reach school age. Those who test positive receive subsidies to help pay for expensive gluten-free groceries. Thats rightItaly. Turns out that Pasta Paradise, that Pastry Peninsula, is actually a Celiac Sanctuary! Fasano also pointed to France, Germany, Spain, and England as places where awareness is high. If youre still worried, there are travel operators out there that will cater to gluten-free customers.


Ads by Google: 04/06/2009 – Celiac sufferers around the globe are anxiously awaiting word from Australia, as the world’s first vaccine trials for the treatment of celiac disease get underway in Melbourne. In April, Bob Anderson, of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical research, will begin the initial phase of the first-ever trials for a celiac vaccine that, if successful, might just mean the end of gluten-free diets for those with celiac disease. The treatment has been successful in mice and is now ready to be tested on humans. In this initial phase, 40 volunteers with celiac disease will receive doses of the vaccine over an 11-month period to determine that it will cause no harm. Once researchers make sure the vaccine is safe, they will begin phase II trial, wherein they give vaccine doses to trial subjects and evaluate their responses to gluten challenges to determine the efficacy of the vaccine. Evaluation will include an examination of immune response and intestinal condition to determine the level of gluten tolerance. The vaccine therapy involves repeatedly injecting solutions of gluten at increasing concentrations. The goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate gluten sensitivity slowly, in a manner similar to common allergy desensitization treatments. The road to the development of this treatment has not been easy. Dr. Anderson is that rare combination of medical doctor (gastroenterologist) and PhD scientist who is able to develop practical treatments from bedside observations. After struggling to gain funding throughout his research career, he eventually patented his vaccine and co-founded Nexpep in an effort to develop the vaccine on his own. Because, like common dust and hay fever allergy therapies, this treatment approach may allow people with celiac disease to actually consume the gluten that produces the toxic reaction and reduce or even eliminate that reaction via vaccination. This approach will also serve as a model for a vaccine approach for other immune conditions such as type 1 diabetes , rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis . Until recently, doctors thought celiac disease was rare. But according to statistics, it is twice as common as type1 diabetes or breast cancer .

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