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Experimental blood test identifies people who do, or don’t, have celiac disease (2018-01-03)

A new test would allow individuals with suspected celiac disease to avoid gluten challenge and duodenal biopsy, but requires validation in a larger study.

The two main blood tests used to screen for celiac disease rely on detecting an immune response to gluten, but that immune response gradually disappears in people who avoid gluten.

More than one percent of the population is following a gluten-free diet, which makes it harder to diagnose real cases of celiac disease.

An HLA-DQ–gluten tetramer-based assays that detects gluten-reactive T cells identifies patients with and without celiac disease with a high level of accuracy, regardless of whether the individuals are on a gluten-free diet.

The new test detects immune cells in a blood sample that are specifically targeted at gluten proteins, even when the individual hasn’t been recently exposed to gluten.

The old tests detected celiac disease in 9 out of 10 patients who weren’t on a gluten-free diet and identified celiac disease in only 4 of the 62 patients who’d been following a gluten-free diet.

The new test is 96 percent accurate in distinguishing celiac disease patients from people who didn’t have celiac disease but were still following gluten-free diets.

For more information
HLA-DQ–Gluten Tetramer Blood Test Accurately Identifies Patients With and Without Celiac Disease in Absence of Gluten Consumption

UiO : University of Oslo
K.G. Jebsen Coeliac Disease Research Centre