Patient clues could lead to coeliac blood test

Patient clues could lead to coeliac blood test

Illuminate newsletter index page, September 2019
September 2019

Associate Professor Jason Tie-Din
Associate Professor Jason-Tye Din leads the Institute's 
coeliac disease research program

Researchers are a step closer to developing a world-first blood test for coeliac disease.

An international study led by Institute researchers identified distinct markers in the blood of people with coeliac disease after they consumed just one meal containing gluten.

Associate Professor Jason Tye-Din, head of coeliac research at the Institute, said work was now underway to develop a simple diagnostic blood test.

“For people following a gluten-free diet without a formal diagnosis of coeliac disease, all that might be required is a blood test before, and again four hours after, one small meal of gluten,” he said.

“This would be a dramatic improvement on the current approach, which requires people to consume gluten for weeks before undergoing a procedure to the small intestine.”

Gluten trigger

Coeliac disease affects more than one in 100 people globally, many of whom are undiagnosed. After consuming gluten, patients can experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

Dr Bob Anderson from US biotechnology company ImmusanT Inc. was joint senior author on the paper.

He said the research had, for the first time, described the inflammatory reaction that patients with coeliac disease experience in the immediate hours after gluten exposure.

“The unpleasant symptoms associated with coeliac disease are linked to an increase in inflammatory molecules in the bloodstream,” Dr Anderson said.

“The immune response is similar to what happens when an infection is present. However, for people with coeliac disease gluten is the trigger.”

CEO of Coeliac Australia Ms Michelle Laforest the finding would be welcome news for the Australian coeliac community.

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