Today's celiac sessions were absolutely amazing and I learned so much!! Although I'm sure all of the large endoscopy companies would hate to hear me say this....the theme of the day seemed to be: changing the gold standard of celiac disease diagnosis.
There were several oral and poster presentations evaluating the specificity of various celiac blood panels and looking at new options for improving accuracy rates in hopes that patients will less often have to undergo an invasive biopsy in order to make a definitive celiac diagnosis. One study presented today found evidence to suggest that patients can have positive celiac blood antibodies without having a positive endoscopy. Their research showed that symptomatic patients can produce positive blood antibodies that signify early celiac disease long before intestinal damage occurs. They evaluated 70 patients and found that regardless of villous atrophy (flattened villi in the small intestines) that antibody positive patients may respond to a gluten-free diet years before they present with damaged villi in their intestines.
What does this mean for you? That a positive celiac blood test and a negative endoscopy means you may have early-stage celiac disease and a gluten-free diet could cure your ailments. The research is still going on, so keep looking for updated data.
Another session I attended was about a celiac pill that Alba Therapeutics is developing. Daniel Leffler presented preliminary results of their research, which found that patients experienced significantly fewer symptoms when ingesting gluten while taking their enzyme than patients taking a placebo and undergoing the same gluten challenge. Approximately 70% of patients in the placebo group experienced symptoms, compared with only 20% in teh group taking the drug (Larazotide). Now...the research here sounds good, but you have to understand the whole picture. The goal is for patients to be able to prevent against symptoms during accidental gluten ingestion, such as cross-contamination. The pill would NOT allow a person to eat pizza, pasta, or any other glutenous ingredients! To read more about the work at Alba, visit the NFCA Newsletter.
And now, some fun stuff! I'm sitting here in the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Booth chatting with Diane Katz from Gut, the International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Gut is a world-renowned peer-reviewed journal, delivering upt-to-date, authoritative, clinically oriented coverage of all areas of gastroenterology. They publish original papers, related editorials and commissioned review articles. So, basically they are AWESOME!www.gut.bmj.com
We were also discussing all of the super awesome giveaways at the conference and had a hard timedecided on the favorites for today.....however, I think we decided that the coolest and most useful were the stress liver and the super cool purple water bottle!
So, i'm off to the beach for a few hours, but I'll be back online tomorrow with more breaking news from Digestive Disease Week 2008!