More than 330,000 Canadians suffer from Celiac disease, a condition that sees their bodies react in negative ways to gluten. But why? Up until now, scientists haven't been able to pinpoint just why the immune systems of those with Celiac have this reaction, but a team of researchers thinks they're making great headway.
In a segment on Australian news program The World Today, host Elizabeth Jackson spoke to Dr. Hugh Reid, a research fellow at Monash University, about the study findings.
Dr. Reid said, "In coeliac patients, they have an inappropriate immune response against a component of wheat, barley, rye and oats, called gluten and associated proteins, which leads to an inflammatory response in the small intestine..." and notes that now the team has been able to demonstrate just how peptides bind to proteins, creating the response. Further, he states, "By being able to examine and dissect the atomic interactions between the protein on the surface of the T-cell and the gluten, we are able to, or we may be able to, open the way for therapeutics to disrupt the interaction or to somehow change the way the T-cell sees gluten."
So basically what he's saying is that by knowing how these two things bond, they may be able to stop it from happening with vaccines or drugs of some kind. By changing Celiac patients' T-cells, they can adjust the immune response (potentially) to accept gluten.
How incredible would this be?! I mean, not for the gluten-free product industry, but for those who suffer from the disease? I look forward to hearing more as research continues.