ImmusanT Grabs $12M as Celiac Vaccine Hits Critical Proving Ground

ImmusanT is trying to prove that a vaccine it’s developing can help celiac patients eat gluten without getting sick. Today, the Cambridge, MA-based company got enough dough to test that theory in real patients.

ImmusanT has raised a $12 million Series B round from Vatera Healthcare Partners, the New York backer that helped get the startup off the ground in 2011 with a $20 million equity financing. ImmusanT will use the cash to take Nexvax2, the company’s experimental immunotherapy for celiac disease, through a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study. It’s the first time Nexvax2 will be tested in patients with the disorder—a critical moment in the company’s progression. Those studies are expected to begin in early 2015.

via ImmusanT Grabs $12M as Celiac Vaccine Hits Critical Proving Ground | Xconomy.

Gluten-Free Appetizers

No matter how hard a host tries to please every guest who walks through their door, unfortunately not everyone is adept at what it means to eat gluten-free. “As a hostess, the biggest problem is understanding where a given allergen lurks,” says Carol Fenster, author of two new books in 2014: Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking and 100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes, and a blogger at www.CarolFensterCooks.com. “With gluten, it seems pretty clear that wheat flour would be in any baked goods, but not everyone understands this, and gluten can be an ingredient in so many foods. Fortunately, we have better labels today but not everyone is practiced in label-reading.”

via Gluten-Free Appetizers.

Celiac disease patients benefit from restroom access bill

Delaware has become the latest state to have a restroom access bill that prohibits businesses from denying access to their bathrooms if the customer has a serious medical condition. In the U.S., 14 states have similar laws to give people with celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other conditions the right to use the bathrooms. In most states, the customer is required to show a medical note from a doctor that identifies the disease and the need for urgently using a restroom.

via Celiac disease patients benefit from restroom access bill – EmaxHealth.

Non-Classic Symptoms of Celiac Disease on the Rise

There are more indicators for celiac disease than just the typical “textbook” symptoms, according to a new study from Italy.

The symptoms most commonly related with celiac disease are diarrhea and weight loss, but research published in the medical journal BMC Gastroenterology confirms what gastroenterologists have been saying anecdotally: that there are now a diverse range of signs of the autoimmune disorder.

Researchers examined trends among the 770 patients diagnosed with celiac disease at St. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital in Bologna, Italy from January 1998 to December 2012. There was a significant increase in the number of cases of celiac diagnosis during the study, and researchers found that two-thirds of the patients diagnosed exhibited signs that were considered “atypical”, such as anemia, constipation, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.

Dr. Umberto Volta, one of the study’s co-authors, said that the most striking result of the study was the indication that leading indicators of the disease are changing.

via Non-Classic Symptoms of Celiac Disease on the Rise | Allergic Living.

John F Kennedy very likely had celiac disease

Dr. Peter Green, a Professor of Clinical Medicine, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, suspects that JFK was the victim of celiac disease an undiagnosed disease common to the Irish.

Green recently wrote in History News Network that Kennedy’s Irish heritage may have played a part in the disease, noting that it is more highly associated with Irish than many other races. The article was later picked up by our sister publication Irish America Magazine.

Green wrote, “John F. Kennedy’s long-standing medical problems started in childhood. In Kennedy’s adolescence, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight and growth problems as well as fatigue were described. Later in life, he suffered from abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, osteoporosis, migraine and Addison’s disease. Chronic back problems, due to osteoporosis, resulted in several operations and required medications for chronic pain.

Green says that by the standards of the time Kennedy was extensively assessed. ”He was extensively evaluated in major medical centers including the Mayo Clinic and hospitals in Boston, New Haven and New York. Among the multiple diagnoses were ulcers, colitis, spastic colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and food allergies. His medications included corticosteroids, antispasmotics, Metamucil and Lomotil.

However, while it is not clear that his physicians obtained a definitive diagnosis, a review of his medical history raises the possibility that JFK had celiac disease.

via John F Kennedy very likely had celiac disease – IrishCentral.com.

Non-Gluten Proteins and Celiac Disease

Although gluten-free foods are trendy among the health-conscious, they are necessary for those with celiac disease. But gluten, the primary trigger for health problems in these patients, may not be the only culprit. Scientists are reporting in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research that people with the disease also have reactions to non-gluten wheat proteins. The results could help scientists better understand how the disease works and could have implications for how to treat it.

via HealthNewsDigest.com.

Girl Scouts sell gluten-free cookies to celiac disease customers – EmaxHealth

The Girl Scouts are expanding their line of cookies to include gluten-free options for celiac disease customers. They will be selling two different varieties of cookies made with rice flour, oats and other ingredients. This year, the Girl Scouts are allowing members to sell cookies online, so you do not have wait for someone to knock on your door.

The Girl Scouts have two types of gluten-free cookies that are being sold by members across the country. The Toffee-Tastic cookies are described as buttery and contain toffee bits. Although they are certified gluten-free, they do contain milk and soy, so people with these allergies need to pay attention to the ingredient list. The Trios cookies are made with peanut butter oatmeal and have chocolate chips. They also have milk and soy in addition to being certified gluten-free.

via Girl Scouts sell gluten-free cookies to celiac disease customers – EmaxHealth.

No Link Seen Between Celiac Disease and Infertility

Most women with celiac disease are not at increased risk for fertility problems, new research contends.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 2 million women of childbearing age in the United Kingdom and found that, overall, women with celiac disease were no more likely to have fertility problems than those without the digestive disorder.

via No Link Seen Between Celiac Disease, Infertility.

Fellow Celiacs: Are You Drinking Your Gluten? – US News

As a dietitian who both counsels patients with newly-diagnosed celiac disease and personally follows a strict gluten-free diet as the result of my own autoimmune shortcomings, I spend a lot of time scrutinizing diets for traces of unexpected gluten. My work involves scouring the margins of people’s diets, from their medications and vitamins to favorite candies and protein powders, to root out even trace exposure to gluten. But until recently, I had skimmed cursorily over drinks as a potential source of gluten exposure in my celiac patients, doing a quick check to make sure they knew to avoid obvious sources such as beer and malt beverages.

But lately, the risk of gluten contamination from beverages has been on my radar screen to a much more prominent degree. I had one patient whose celiac antibodies remained positive – and whose digestive distress persisted – despite the most careful attention to her diet. We eventually realized that the digestive comfort tea she was using to calm her stomach was made with barley … and was ironically the source of her ongoing distress! This was followed soon after by a patient who experienced severe diarrhea after consuming a seasonal pumpkin coffee beverage from a leading donut chain. And as a result, I’ve been spending more time delving into all of the other potential sources of drinkable gluten so that I can better prepare my patients for success at making sure they don’t wash down their gluten-free diets with, well, gluten.

via Fellow Celiacs: Are You Drinking Your Gluten? – US News.

What’s So Bad About Gluten?

Nearly twenty million people contend that they regularly experience distress after eating products that contain gluten, and a third of American adults say that they are trying to eliminate it from their diets. One study that tracks American restaurant trends found that customers ordered more than two hundred million dishes last year that were gluten- or wheat-free. The syndrome has even acquired a name: non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

via What’s So Bad About Gluten?.