Family Testing for Coeliac Disease

Patients Required: 280
Recruited 80%

Coeliac Disease (CeD) is a common, life-long chronic inflammatory condition which is highly heritable. It is greatly under-recognised with merely 1 in 5 people in Australia with CeD being diagnosed. As a result of this genetic predisposition, first-degree relatives (FDRs) are at a higher risk of developing CeD than the general population.

Although estimates vary, a recent study found that the incidence of CeD in FDRs was 7.5%. While screening people at high risk is cost-effective and there are improvements in outcomes after the diagnosis, the ideal approach and strategies to undertake screening have not been studied.

The overall aim of this study is to compare a new screening and diagnostic method called Point of Care Testing (POCT) to the traditional blood test.

Blood tests have traditionally been collected by drawing 10-15mls from a vein (called a venepuncture) in your arm. POCT is a new technology that provides a rapid and minimally invasive assessment for the presence of coeliac disease-specific antibodies called anti-tTG IgA (Biocard) and DGP IgG (Simtomax).

The tests are simple, the results are available within ten minutes (as opposed to being sent to a laboratory for processing), and require only a finger-prick of blood, which offers unique advantages in patient groups such as children.

In brief, participation requires:

  • A  first degree relative (parent, sibling or child), with biopsy-confirmed Coeliac Disease, who is happy to sign a release of information for/provide a copy of their diagnostic results
  • Participants being on a normal full gluten diet for at least 6 weeks prior to testing.
  • Ability to come in to The Wesley Hospital (Brisbane) for a short appointment for finger-prick testing
  • A regular blood test carried out at a Sullivan Nicolaides collection centre. (The study is comparing the effectiveness of the finger-prick style test to the traditional “gold-standard” blood tests, so both types of testing are required for participation in the study).
  • Completion of two online questionnaires.
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