Jul 21, 2010

Scientists Discover Molecular Triggers of Celiac Disease

The results of a celiac disease study conducted in Australia are published in Science Translational Medicine (July 21, 2010 issue). The researchers collected blood samples from over 200 celiac patients after they ate gluten. They found three peptides, protein fragments, that appear to be causing the immune response to gluten in people with a genetic predisposition to celiac disease.  The T cell was also found to be the primary cell involved in the immune response.

Here is a quote from Dr. Fasano, which was found in the U.S. News and World Report article about this study.

"According to Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, the evidence is indeed strong that these three protein fragments trigger the celiac immune response, but 'I'm not sure that it's the end of the story,' he added. It remains possible that the screen didn't catch all the gluten components involved in the immune response, Fasano said."
In a few months, the Australian scientists expect to have results of the "phase I clinical trials on a drug based on the three gluten protein fragments they identified. The aim of the drug is to desensitize celiac patients to the offending proteins by presenting them in very controlled amounts."

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