The end of the Gluten Challenge?

ImmungenX has discovered a novel way to test for Celiac Disease without the need for a 6 to 12 week gluten challenge.

Current testing methods for Celiac disease involve taking blood to test for anti-TtG which is sort of an indirect method for testing for Celiac. I’m going to try to explain this below –

Tissue transglutaminase is an enzyme that fixes damage in your body. People with celiac disease often make antibodies that attack this enzyme. These are called anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies. A blood test that shows higher levels of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies starts the process of evaluating a person for celiac disease.

In order to be accurately tested for celiac disease, you have to be consuming gluten. People eating a normal diet typically consume enough gluten for an accurate test. If someone has started a gluten free diet before testing for celiac, then a gluten challenge is recommended – consuming the equivalent two slices of bread a day for six to twelve weeks. This can be torturous and returning to the symptoms that caused the person to go gluten free in the first place. Many people are unwilling to undergo a gluten challenge to determine if they have Celiac disease.

ImmusanT has come up with a new test that people on a gluten free diet. It seems that you have to ingest a gluten drink, then they test the cytokine response in your blood to the gluten drink. Cytokines are small proteins that are either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. In celiac disease, pro-inflammatory cytokines trigger the release of CD4Tcells. People without celiac disease do not demonstrate the same release of cytokines.

ImmusanT is working on this test. I cannot find that this is in clinical trials yet, but I could be wrong on this one.

Side note- EWWW factor – As I was looking through clinicaltrials.gov, I found a study that is pretty cool. They have just completed a study in Queensland, Australia for using hookworm to desensitize celiac patients to gluten. God Bless the participants in this study!!!

But just imagine how far are we willing to go in order to find a cure for this stupid disease – we are willing to infect ourselves with hookworm to see if it will be better.

More details about the new celiac testing method can be found here.

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