TOTAL FUNDING € 600,000.00


The Foundation for Celiac Disease FC and the Italian Society for Celiac Disease AIC are glad to inform you that the 2013 FC Call for Proposals is now closed.

As a very first experience of Call for AIC and FC, it was very successful!




54 projects were received for 4 main topics:

celiac disease                                 76% of submitted projects

dermatitis herpetiformis                2% of submitted projects

wheat allergy                                  2% of submitted projects

non-celiac gluten sensitivity         20% of submitted projects


18 Research Areas: from Clinics to Genetics, Proteomics, Biochemistry, Oncology, Nutrition, Drug Discovery and Inflammation


Funds provided for a period of three years (2013 - 2015) for a total of € 600,000.00





The following projects were selected by FC for 2013-2015 funding upon a strict peer review procedure.


Celiac Disease – Genetics and Biomarkers

Identification of new biomarkers of Celiac disease and response to gluten-free diet

In the last few years, many evidences have shown that microRNAs, small non-coding RNA molecules, circulating in serum can be used as efficient novel biomarkers for different pathologies. The aim of this project is to identify the circulating microRNAs that may better characterize Celiac Disease, using next-generation technologies. Moreover, since the gluten-free diet is the only effective treatment for Celiac Disease, the expression level of circulating miRNAs may be also employed to evaluate the response to diet. Moreover, circulating microRNAs can be used in combination with other serological biomarkers to improve the diagnosis of Celiac Disease and/or to avoid more invasive examinations such as intestinal biopsies, especially when directed to the pediatric population.



Letizia Da Sacco, PhD

Gene Expression - Microarrays Laboratory; Bambino Gesù Children Hospital, IRCCS, P.za S.Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome - Italy




Gluten Sensitivity - Genetics

A novel genetic test to the diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) are pathologies elicited by the consumption of gluten-containing cereals. Differently from the celiac, the NCGS is an elusive disorder whose diagnosis is based on generic symptoms including abdominal pain, tiredness, diarrhoea. To date no genetic, serological, or histological test are available to confirm the diagnosis of NCGS.

We propose to evaluate specific genetic factors in healthy, celiac and NCGS patients to finally identify altered parameters that are diagnostic for a disease or another. The study will examine intestinal biopsies (the organ primarily affected by these diseases), and the blood. We planned to investigate the blood because, differently from the intestinal biopsies, blood sampling is less invasive and well tolerated by patients. Further, blood immune cells are deeply involved in gluten related disorder.

We anticipate to obtain a sort of genetic fingerprint whose analysis will reveal if a patient is affected by NCGS or celiac disease.


Michele Sallese Ph.D.

Head, Unit of Genomic Approaches to Membrane Traffic - Fondazione Mario Negri Sud, Via Nazionale 8/A, 66030 S. Maria Imbaro, Chieti, Italy




Celiac Disease – Immunology

Activation of innate immunity in coeliac disease: markers, triggers, evolution and clinical implications

Coeliac disease is a complex immune disorder with autoimmune features triggered by gluten ingestion in genetically susceptible individuals. A deranged immune response is present in the small intestinal mucosa, involving both the innate and adaptive branches of the immune response.

This project focuses in particular on the innate immune response, addressing some important, so far unanswered, questions. Are different pathways of the innate immune response active in different subgroups of patients? To which extent gliadin peptides or viruses, or both together, are responsible for such activation? If gliadin is involved, as our preliminary data seem to suggest, which are the mechanisms involved at cellular and molecular levels, particularly in intestinal epithelial cells? Is the innate immune response already activated in the very early phases of the disease, and how does it evolve over time? Experiments will be conducted both on epithelial cell lines and intestinal biopsies from patients in different phases of the disease, using different techniques such as qPCR, immunohistochemistry, western blot.

The results are expected to improve our knowledge about the pathogenic mechanisms sustaining celiac disease, with a particular focus to the stimuli (viruses, gliadin) able to enhance the innate immune response. Identifying subgroups of patients based on their innate immune cytokine pattern will help designing new therapies, but also preventive strategies for at risk patients.


Prof. Riccardo Troncone

Head, European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food-Induced Diseases, University Federico II, Via S. Pansini n. 5, 80131  Naples, Italy