By Allergen Bureau

Australian Government invests in coeliac research

Postdoctoral researcher Dr Melinda Hardy and her team at Melbourne’s WEHI have been awarded $1.1m NHMRC funding through the Ideas Grant scheme. The grant will support research to better understand what leads to the symptoms of gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease, in order to improve treatments and health outcomes for those with the condition.

Coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity are common illnesses in Australia often associated with unpleasant symptoms after gluten is consumed. Symptoms in some people can be severe and impair quality of life, while also being linked to increased risk of other diseases including certain cancers. How gluten causes this is poorly understood, warranting more research.

In making the funding announcement, Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt highlighted the widespread nature of coeliac disease. He noted there are 400,000 Australians with the condition and up to 15 per cent of Australians affected by broad forms of gluten intolerance. He is quoted as saying “It may not get the attention it deserves, but it’s getting the funding it deserves.”

The funded project “Uncovering the pathway between gluten immunity and adverse symptoms in coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity to define novel treatments and symptom biomarkers” aims to understand the pathways that are important in the development of coeliac disease symptoms, the true triggers, and how gluten immunity is involved. The findings will enable targeted treatments to manage symptoms, improving the health and well-being of people with coeliac disease.

For more information, see the media release posted on the LabOnline website.