Autoimmune: Celiac Disease

celiac disease

Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder that affects approximately 1% of the global population. In celiac disease, ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the villi in the small intestine causing malabsorption of nutrients. This can lead to long-term health conditions such as nutritional and vitamin deficiencies often precipitating early onset of osteoporosis or osteopenia. Furthermore, it can lead to more malignant conditions such as Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and small intestinal adenocarcinoma.

There is no approved drug for the treatment of celiac disease, or medication to prevent the immune attack or repair the damage to the villi resulting from exposure to gluten. Current treatment is limited to maintaining a gluten-free diet. Failure to comply with a gluten-free diet will typically lead to relapse as the underlying pathology of celiac disease remains unaddressed.