Innovative Testing Methods for Gluten in Foods for Celiac Disease Patients
A small startup in Virginia called Altede is the pioneer of on-the-go gluten testing for those who have celiac disease, formed by Ed and Anna Champion with the help of their business partner, Brian Petruzzi. The trio hope to be the first to build and take to market small, inexpensive testing kits for those with celiac disease and other food allergies.
The hope is for celiac patients to be able to test food at the table in just a few minutes while keeping to FDA standards for testing and also be able to purchase these kits at an affordable cost. Even though not everyone will test their food all the time, these kits will be incredibly beneficial for people with a severe gluten intolerance.
Altede is a small startup in Virginia formed by Ed and Anna Champion, along with their business partner, Brian Petruzzi. The company is known to be the first of its kind for on-the-go gluten testing, which is a major need for people who suffer from celiac disease. The main goal is to help out patients with celiac by providing a way to test food items in just a few minutes’ time while maintaining FDA standards and also keeping these testing kits at a reasonable cost. So, those who suffer from severe cases of gluten intolerance would make good use of this product. This team has created an antibody that was initially grown in mice, then later extracted. It was designed to latch itself onto the protein molecules that are commonly present in gluten. If someone comes across a food item that they suspect contains gluten, they could take a small sample and place it inside the container of liquid that is part of the easily transportable, M&M’s-packet-size kit. These kits come with test strips that are meant to be placed inside the liquid. If there is any gluten present, the proteins will latch onto the gluten and will then build up on the strips, which will turn them pink in color, very similar to a pregnancy test. So far, this prototype tester is known to detect only small amounts of gluten, and it currently takes hours instead of minutes to get the desired results. The founders are of the opinion that, with certain tweaks, this device can be made to provide results within minutes instead of hours.
This kit is considered to be a game changer mostly for celiac patients, and it would mean that an individual could avoid cross contamination in places they often go to eat. It is rather difficult for celiac patients to live in a world of food that, for the most part, is not made with them in mind, so having this small device could make their lives a bit easier. There are three types of celiac disease: classical, non-classical, and silent. The classical type is the most common one, which includes weight loss due to malabsorption of nutrients, and it mostly impacts children; the non-classical form is when an individual experiences a mild response to gluten; and silent celiac disease is mostly referred to as asymptomatic celiac disease, because, on the outside, the patient may not show any symptoms, but the villi present in the small intestine would ultimately bear the damage.
Gluten is known to be found in most food items that are consumed on a daily basis. Although over the past few years new methods have been formulated to find gluten-free foods, in developed countries, it still poses a huge risk for celiac patients to get the desired foods they want to eat.