Celiac Canada announces world-first celiac research award and calls for 2024 applications

James A. Campbell winners to lead study on oats for the newly diagnosed.

MISSISSAUGA, January 16, 2024 – The winner of Celiac Canada’s 2023 J.A. Campbell Main Grant of $25K has been awarded to Dr. Maria Ines Pinto-Sanchez, a gastroenterologist & Director of the Celiac Clinic at McMaster University. Dr Sanchez leads a nationwide team of top researchers to evaluate the effect of late versus early introduction of gluten-free oats in newly diagnosed patients with celiac disease.

An international review revealed there are no clinical guidelines anywhere in the world about oats for people with celiac disease. Because oats are usually cross contaminated with gluten, eating them can bring on severe symptoms in celiac patients. Yet, gluten-free oats offer vital nutrients, such as manganese, B-vitamins iron that are missing because wheat, rye and barley are off the table. These vitamins are critical for child growth and development.

“This study, the first of its kind in the world, will determine the best clinical approach for the introduction of oats into a celiac diet and ongoing disease management”, explains Melissa Secord, Executive Director of Celiac Canada. “The results are a potential game changer for nutrition therapy for celiacs who have no other cure than a gluten-free diet”.

Celiac Canada (CCA) is now calling for applications for the 2024 research grants – the main J.A. Campbell Research Award and a Young Investigator Award.

Since 2000, Celiac Canada has been the largest single-funder of celiac disease (CD) research dedicating over $430,000 to find, treat and cure the disease. The Dr. J. A. Campbell award is the nation’s only celiac-specific research grant program.

The main award offers a grant of up to $25,000 for research projects of a scientific, and/or medical nature in CD, dermatitis herpetiformis, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or socio-economic or nutrition implications of delayed diagnosis and/or living with these conditions.

The Young Investigator Award bestows $5,000 for research by students who have recently completed degrees/training. The 2023 grant goes to Mark Wulczynski, PhD at McMaster University under the supervision of the internationally acclaimed Dr. Elena Verdu in the department of Medical Sciences. Mark’s study looks at the role of fibre in the small intestine, hoping to lead to potential treatments that reduce inflammation from exposure to gluten.

Lizbeth Wall, Celiac Canada president knows how much research matters. “CD research is severely underfunded compared to many other digestive diseases, let alone mainstream health conditions. There’s often a lack of respect for how serious this autoimmune genetic disorder is, which impacts one percent of the world’s population,” explains Wall. “Thanks to donors, we have been able to take a leadership role in funding Canadian research to help improve diagnosis rates and empower people living with the disease to live better lives and reduce costs to the healthcare system.”

About the Celiac Canada
Celiac Canada (CCA) is the only national charity in Canada championing how to find, treat and cure celiac disease so patients can safely manage their lifelong gluten-free journey. A united hub for the best medical, lifestyle and policy solutions that improve access to safe gluten-free food, standards of care and world-class education/research. CCA changes minds, hearts, laws & lives.

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