Simpler Diagnosis Of Coeliac Disease: Australian Scientists Devise New Test

Optiscan Imaging’s endomicroscope being used in clinical gastroenterology study

Optiscan is focused on microscopic imaging technologies for medical markets.

Photograph: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute website Australian scientists have made progress towards a blood test that could dramatically simplify the diagnosis of coeliac disease. The test will do away with the need for people to eat gluten for weeks before a diagnosis can be made, says lead researcher Dr Jason Tye-Din, head of coeliac research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne. Results will take 24 hours and people will not need to have tissue samples taken from their intestines. A pilot study on 48 people shows the test is accurate after only three days of gluten consumption, says Tye-Din. Many people follow gluten-free diets without a formal diagnosis and the current testing method requires them to eat gluten again, which is often unpleasant and difficult, says Tye-Din, a gastroenterologist at Royal Melbourne hospital. It will, however, be several years before the new test is available for general use, he says. Coeliac disease is caused by an abnormal immune reaction to gluten in the diet, leading to damage to the small intestine. It can cause digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhoea, as well as lethargy, anaemia, headaches and weight loss. Long-term complications include malnutrition, osteoporosis, pregnancy issues and liver failure. Up to one in 60 women and one in 80 men in Australia have the condition, but most are undiagnosed. Tye-Din, whose study is published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology, believes a simple test will greatly improve diagnosis and treatment. The study is supported by by Coeliac Australia, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the Victorian government. Sign up for the Guardian Today Our editors’ picks for the day’s top news and commentary delivered to your inbox each morning.

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Optiscan Imaging (ASX: OIL) has noted commencement of a clinical study that is introducing Optiscan’s second generation endomicroscopy platform into the field of gastroenterology. The study is being undertaken by gastroenterologists and scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical research and St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, in affiliation with the University of New South Wales. The gastroenterology market is now well established as a result of extensive use of Optiscan’s previous generation platform via a product marketed by Pentax Medical Corporation. The study has enabled the incorporation of the latest advances in Optiscan’s technology into a high definition Olympus endoscope. The resultant system combines advanced features of the Olympus endoscope with Optiscan’s latest developments in microscopic imaging during endoscopy. The result is an endoscope with a level of performance never before trialled in humans, incorporating desirable features discovered using the first generation product during thousands of endoscopy procedures, and other advances in endoscopic imaging. This study will apply these novel features in dynamic events relating to the permeability, or “leakiness” of the gut lining and how it is altered by inflammatory diseases. For Optiscan, the commencement of patient recruitment in this study is a key milestone in its strategy to advance the second generation platform into commercially viable markets. The same platform is currently the subject of product development for neurosurgery under a commercial partnership with Carl Zeiss of Germany, as well as a supply agreement recently secured with UK based MR Solutions for global supply into the pre-clinical imaging market. Optiscan is capitalised at around $10 million. Proactive Investors Australia is the market leader in producing news, articles and research reports on ASX Small and Mid-cap stocks with distribution in Australia, UK, North America and Hong Kong / China. Sign up to Proactive Investors Andrew McCrea’s Research Reports Sign up to Andrew McCrea’s Research Reports and Receive Latest Research & Flash Trades Submit Receive Proactive Investors Newsletter, Investor Forum Invites Receive Proactive Investors Newsletter, Event Invites, Special Stock Notifications Submit

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