The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) is a medical research institute in Australia. Jason Tye-Din, is the Head of Coeliac Research, a leading gastroenterologist and researcher in this area. He provided an update about some of their progress in the March Edn. of Coeliac Society Australia magazine including the following.
The definition of coeliac disease has been re-defined and the Oslo consensus defines it as ” a chronic small intestinal immune-mediated enteropathy precipitated by exposure to dietary gluten in genetically predisposed individuals’
Main points from this is coeliac disease is genetically predisposed and involvement of the immune system is what contributes to gluten being toxic. The small intestine is involved but it is important not to forget or undervalue the involvement of the immune system and therefore other medical issues that can occur.
Understanding the above is what then helps further develop on understanding coeliac disease and how and why it develops.
There is a study occurring that may change the way coeliac disease is diagnosed. A 3 day oral gluten challenge is given to study subjects, this influences an immune response where T cells in the blood increase some days after. Having a closer look at these T cells allows much knowledge to be gained. Understanding more about T cells helped in the development of a coeliac ‘vaccine’ – Nexvax2, where clinical trials are occurring in Australia and New Zealand.
From the above study it will also help them develop their understanding of how 20 % of people with coeliac disease, possessing the less common genes HLA-DQ8, HLA-DQ2 plus 8 and ‘Half HLA-DQ2’.
Depending on an individuals genetics and depending on the grains they consume influences different immune responses.
There is a study in children from 3-18 years old occurring which will help further aid understanding of their immune system response. This will then contribute to potential changes in diagnostics and treatments.
Thank you Dr Jason Tye-Din for the update.