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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    New Test Could Simplify Diagnosis of Celiac Disease

    Caption: Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

    Celiac.com 03/10/2014 - A new blood test under development by researchers at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute can rapidly and accurately diagnose celiac disease without the prolonged gluten exposure needed for current tests.

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons.The new blood test is supposedly accurate after only three days of gluten consumption, not the several weeks or months traditionally required to make a diagnosis using intestinal biopsies.

    Researchers from the Melbourne institute, with colleagues from biotechnology company ImmusanT in Boston, US, led a study of the blood test in 48 participants, the results of which were published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology.

    Furthermore, says Dr Jason Tye-Din, gastroenterologist and head of celiac research at Hall, preliminary results show that the new diagnostic test can accurately detect celiac disease within 24 hours.

    Dr Tye-Din said that the blood test built on fundamental research discoveries the team had made about coeliac disease.

    "This 'cytokine release' test measures the T cell response to gluten after three days of consumption, and a positive response is highly predictive of coeliac disease," he said. "With this test, we were able to detect a T cell response in the majority of study participants known to have coeliac disease and importantly, the test was negative in all of the patients who did not have coeliac disease, even though they followed a gluten-free diet and thought gluten was the cause of their symptoms."

    The researchers hope larger studies will confirm its role as a widely used tool for diagnosing coeliac disease.

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    I have concerns about this study and the accuracy of this new test. My understanding is that there is currently no way to test someone who is already gluten-free. Therefore, how did the researchers confirm that their test accurately picked up those who were on a gluten-free diet but did not have celiac disease?

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    I'm happy that more reliable tests are being developed, but I don't want to have to hurt myself to prove to doctors that I have a disease I know I have. It's a step in the right direction, though, so I'm hopeful that progress in identifying patients with celiac disease will get easier and that more doctors will begin to understand this condition.

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    This article does not show how participants were determined to have or not have celiac disease. There is no information about the cost and availability of the test (in the future I assume).

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 01/01/2014 - By enabling researchers to link antibodies with certain diseases, a new method could help uncover and confirm environmental triggers for diseases such as celiac and autism.
    The researchers have two goals, according to professor Patrick Daugherty, a researcher with the department of chemical engineering and the Center for BioEngineering at University of California, Santa Barbara.
    First, they want to create diagnostic tests for diseases for which there are currently no blood tests. Next, they want to figure out what causes the diseases.
    The process works by mining an individual’s immunological memory—a veritable catalog of the pathogens and antigens encountered by his or her immune system
    Every time we encounter a pathogen, our bodies mounts an immune response in the form of antibodies that are specific for given antigens; molecular, microbial, chemical, etc. Each time our bodies mount this response, they form “memory cells” that are activated by subsequent encounters with that specific antigen. Responses can vary, from minor reactions to serious autoimmune diseases in which the body turns against its own tissues and its immune system responds by destroying them, such as in the case of Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.
    People with celiac disease, for example, will have certain antibodies in their blood that bind to specific peptides—short chains of amino acids—present in wheat, barley, and rye. These peptides are the gluten that trigger adverse reactions in certain people. In the same way that a lock is meant to take only one key, these antibodies will only attach to specific sequences of amino acids that make up the peptides.
    The researchers want to figure out which antibodies are linked to specific diseases. “People with celiac disease have two particular antibody types in their blood, which have proved to be enormously useful for diagnosis,” says Daugherty.
    Source:
    UC Santa Barbara

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