Friday, 31 January 2014

Blood Test Simplifies Diagnosis of Celiac Disease

A new blood test is being developed that can rapidly and accurately diagnose celiac disease without the need for prolonged gluten exposure, reports journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology.

The diagnostic test gave a result within 24 hours and preliminary findings indicated it could accurately detect celiac disease and it is hoped that larger studies will verify its role as a widely used tool for diagnosing celiac disease (CD).

Scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (Melbourne, Australia) recruited 27 patients being treated for CD, four with CD but were untreated and 17 non-CD controls. Blood for serology and cytokine release assays was drawn in the morning immediately before (d0) and on day six (d6) after commencing gluten challenge, or prior to commencing a gluten-free diet (GFD) in untreated CD patients.

The researchers concluded that the whole blood cytokine release assays appear to be sensitive and specific potential diagnostic test for CD patients following GFD. As an added benefit over current diagnostic tests being performed on patients already following GFD, the mobilization of gluten-reactive T-cells specific for CD into the bloodstream requires oral gluten challenge for only three days instead of the weeks or months required for diagnosis based on abnormal small bowel histology.

Jason Tye-Din, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, a gastroenterologist and a coauthor of the study says, “A test that simplifies diagnosis for patients is likely to significantly enhance disease detection. This new diagnostic approach is encouraging and we hope that larger studies can validate these findings and establish its role in the diagnosis of celiac disease, with the possibility of avoiding intestinal biopsies for diagnosis altogether.” The study is published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology.

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