Futuristic lab-on-a-chip celiac disease testing may soon be reality

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.


[1] “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.

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