Almost 1% of Australian children suffer with coeliac disease, with a large number still going undiagnosed. Current methods for the detection of coeliac disease are costly and invasive, leading to delays in diagnosis.
In its 2018 application of grants to fund research into the health, education and welfare of children, the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation elected to support Flinders University’s development of a new, stable-isotope breath test that may detect the intestines ability to break down gluten.
In March 2019, the research outcomes of chief investigator, Dr Roger Yazbek, were published by international journal Scientific Reports, and reported on by South Australia’s The Lead (Angela Skujins, The Lead South Australia. March 20, 2019).
… The new method developed at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, would reduce the number of invasive procedures such as endoscopies. Instead, patients with gut problems would be diagnosed by simply measuring the amount of the Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) enzyme found in their breath.
Lead researcher Dr Roger Yazbek said the specific DPP4 enzyme is produced in the small intestine and breaks down dietary proteins that have been associated with coeliac disease and associated gut damage.
“This breath test represents a potentially new way to non-invasively measure gut health,” Dr Yazbek said.
“Not only will these tests improve patient quality of life but potentially save the health care system time and money, particularly if adapted for point-of-care testing in rural and remote areas.”