Many people with gluten intolerance are unaware that they are sufferers, and average delay from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is 12 years. Part of the problem is lack of awareness among medical professionals and the general public, and another part is the costly invasive diagnostic tests.
A new test, which should be available in a few years and will soon be tested at the University Medical Centre Maribor in Slovenia, has been developed by a consortium of 20 partners using EU funding. The test was created with aim of being quick, low cost and accurate, and able to be used in the patient’s home or doctor’s surgery. Current tests involve a biopsy to remove patient’s tissue, which is then sent to a lab for analysis.
The new test requires just one drop of blood onto a ‘lab on a chip’ device, as small as a credit card, which is then placed into a biomedical interface instrument and analysis is carried out with immediate results. Follow up tests to monitor the patient’s response to treatment can then be monitored in the same way.
The technology could also be used to diagnose other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis, thyroiditis and possibly even cancer.
More research on the management of coeliac disease
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