Pronunciation: (SEE-lee-ak dih-ZEEZ)
A digestive disease that is caused by an immune response to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Celiac disease damages the lining of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. A person with celiac disease may become malnourished no matter how much food is consumed.
Source: NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms2004-06-23