Holy cow!! Actual hope for celiac patients!
I have read a variety of reports on research that has been done to try to cure (or prevent) celiac disease. None of it has seemed very promising to me.
I have celiac disease, as does my 6yo son, and it is suspected that my 18mo daughter has it, too.
[Celiac disease is a genetic digestive disorder which causes both digestive and neurological problems. It is classified as an autoimmune disorder, because, in short, there is a part of the protein (gluten) in wheat, rye and barley which triggers the body to attack its own small intestine, damaging the villi, which absorb foods’ nutrients into the blood.]
However, in the November newsletter from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, it reported something that is altogether amazing, and really gives me pause to consider that it may really, truly be possible to, in the future, cure celiac disease.
It gave a link to a medical report published in the October 2007 issue of the medical journal Pediatrics about a 12yo girl who needed a bone marrow transplant due to leukemia. The transplant not only cured her leukemia, it cured her celiac disease!!!! To my knowledge, other than reports of miracles, this is the first time it has been documented that a medical procedure has cured anyone’s celiac disease.
Of note, it was her brother, who did not have CD, that was the bone marrow donor. It has now been 3 1/2 years since the transplant, and she still shows no serologic (in her bloodword) no symptomatic signs of celiac disease.
Unbeknownst to me, there have been a number of reports showing that bone marrow transplants ameliorated (or cured) symptoms from different autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The report concluded thus:
Although we do not, at this time, advocate allogeneic HSCT as the definitive treatment of CD, the decreased morbidity and mortality associated with the use of reduced-intensity stem cell transplants may someday allow HSCT to be an acceptable alternative to a lifelong gluten-restricted diet, which, at best, is extremely difficult to remain adherent to for life.
In other words, bone marrow transplants may “someday” be a worthwhile treatment for celiac patients.
Maybe they could come up with some kind of treatment that wouldn’t be so difficult and painful for both donor and recipient!
To me, that is the most amazing and hopeful news about celiac disease I’ve heard in my five years of familiarity with it!!