Coeliac disease is an autoimmune type disease characterised by intolerance to gluten (gluten is a major food ingredient extracted from cereals like wheat, rye and barley). In genetically susceptible individuals, gluten ingestion results in intestinal mucosa damage and malabsorption of essential nutrients.
The coeliac-EU cluster groups together three research programmes with complementary scientific objectives:
To establish the prevalence of oeliac disease in a large European population.
To characterise the genetic basis of this common food intolerance.
To identify factors involved in the gluten-triggered pathogenesis of mucosal damage.
The epidemiology study will :
Provide an estimate of the prevalence of oeliac disease in Europe.
Allow identification and early treatment of 'silent' oeliac people who are so far not detected.
The genetic study will :
Identify association(s) between gene(s) and the oeliac disease.
Clarify the contribution of the HLA genetic components and their association with other (non-HLA) genetic markers.
The pathogenesis study will :
Characterise features of damage in the oeliac mucosa.
Provide information on factors involved in the pathogenesis of mucosal damage, in particular on T cells involvement.
A new simple serological diagnostic test, suitable for large population screening and allowing an easier and earlier detection of the disease, will be validated.
A non-invasive genetic test based on DNA analysis may potentially be developed in the future.
New therapeutic strategies, for instance based on immuno-modulation, may potentially be developed in the future.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
405 30 Goeteborg
WC2R 2LS London
BT7 1NN Belfast
W6 7LH London
SO16 6YD Southampton