I have a hard time comprehending that anyone could make a safe wheat for celiacs. But that’s what the US government is backing – new research that, if accomplished, could be groundbreaking.

An $855,000 grant funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act went to Arcadia Biosciences an agricultural technology company.

Arcadia will partner with Washington State University to develop “wheat varieties with reduced celiac disease-causing proteins.” The news, announced in a news release Monday, would be huge if the discovery is made, but the word “reduced” makes me nervous – it doesn’t sound like enough.

Phase one in this research began in 2005. At that time they identified wheat plants with already low levels of “proteins that are most toxic” to celiacs (can’t they just say with low levels of gluten or gluten protein?).

“Development of wheat varieties with minimal amounts of celiac-triggering proteins can dramatically expand food choices and the quality of life for celiac-sufferers,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia. “The progress under our Phase I grant has made us increasingly optimistic about our ability to deliver wheat varieties that people with celiac disease can enjoy. If the approach we are exploring in the Phase II grant is successful, our new wheat varieties may also appeal to a much broader market.”

They hope to complete phase two in mid 2011. The company has not released a commercialization timeline for its new wheat varieties.

Wow. It took me 3 years to try gluten-free oats! I’ll be amazed if this is accomplished. Good luck!!

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2 Responses to “US Government backs study of celiac-safe wheat”

  1. I, too, am uncomfortable with this. I know someone in Europe who was using all the low gluten wheat starch based products and started having symptoms all over again. Imagine being a diagnosed celiac and starting from scratch with the healing process. Since giving up on bread made with “safe” wheat starch, she is improving. Nothing scientific, but makes me think I won’t be trying any ‘safe’ wheat. Ever. This is more about money and agriculture than about what is good and safe for those with celiac disease.

  2. Hello Amy:

    My name is Max Moehs and I am the scientist at Arcadia Biosciences leading the National Institutes of Health funded project to develop wheat with reduced amounts of the proteins that are toxic for celiac patients. I saw your coverage of the press release that Arcadia Biosciences recently published about this project at your blog and I wanted to introduce myself and comment about our research.

    First of all, thank you for taking note of our research and mentioning it on your blog. I am happy to discuss my research with anyone who has an interest in the outcome. In fact, last year I gave a presentation to the celiac support group in Davis, CA and found the group very receptive to and supportive of my research. Naturally there is considerable caution among celiac patients about trying a

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