By Jason Clevenger
Summary: A group of European researchers has reached important milestones in the development of a so-called “bleed-to-read” system for testing of patients thought to have celiac disease.
The system consists of an inexpensive, one-time-use sensor package that is read with a computerized instrument that would be set up at the physician’s office or clinic.
The sensor is based on a so-called “lab-on-a-chip” technology. It allows for both genetic screening of the HLA DQ2/DA8 and detection of the IgA and IgG antibodies associated with celiac disease from a single drop of blood.
The researchers anticipate having a commercial product ready for use within two years.
Conclusion: The development of inexpensive point-of-care diagnostic systems will allow more widespread use of celiac disease screening than is currently practical with more expensive conventional genetic and blood testing, particularly in less-developed parts of the world. The type of sensor technology employed is also widely adaptable to screening of other diseases that are identified through genetic and blood tests.
 “A Quick, Cheap, Accurate Test for Gluten Intolerance”, ScienceDaily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606092619.htm. C.P. Kelly, Gut, May 2012, epub ahead of print.