Coeliac disease is on the rise

Robert P Anderson
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2011.tb02971.x
Published online: 21 March 2011

An estimated four out of five Australians with coeliac disease are undiagnosed — we need greater awareness and increased testing

According to criteria published in 1990, which remain the most widely accepted, the diagnosis of coeliac disease is based on typical histological features of the small intestine of an individual on a gluten-containing diet: villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia and intra-epithelial lymphocytosis.1 Serological tests for coeliac disease, such as for endomysial IgA or transglutaminase IgA, are predictive, but alone are not sufficient for diagnosis. The diagnosis of coeliac disease is confirmed by clinical, serological or histological improvement on a gluten-free diet.1

  • Robert P Anderson1,2,3,4

  • 1 The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Immunology Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 4 ImmusanT, Cambridge, Mass, USA.


Competing interests:

I am a consultant for Inova Diagnostics (USA), Prometheus Laboratories (USA), and Given Imaging (USA). I hold patents that pertain to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of coeliac disease, and am the founding director of and a substantial shareholder in Nexpep (Australia). Nexpep is a holding company with shares in ImmusanT (USA), which is developing tests and treatments for coeliac disease. I am a founding shareholder of ImmusanT. My employer, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), has received research funds from Nexpep and Inova Diagnostics. WEHI is a Nexpep shareholder. I am a paid speaker and have developed lecture programs on coeliac disease for AstraZeneca Australia.


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