Research Title: Predicting histological and clinical outcome in coeliac disease by combining genetics and longitudinal microbiota profiling.
Project Summary: Coeliac disease (CD) is an important health problem because of its high prevalence, silent or atypical symptoms, associated specific and non-specific morbidity, and long-term complications. While there is no cure for CD, following a strict lifelong gluten-free diet (GFD) alleviates symptoms in two-thirds of patients. Unlike cancer and heart disease, we currently lack the tools to non-invasively diagnose CD and the medications to effectively treat it. CD occurs from an interaction between genes, eating foods containing gluten and other environmental factors, but the precise cause is not known. Some gene variants increase the risk of developing the disease but having those gene variants does not guarantee you will get CD, which suggests that additional factors must be involved. While preliminary research has already raised intriguing possibility of association of microbiota in CD, disease specific microbial signature is still not defined.
Project Aims: The study aims to investigate whether gastrointestinal microbiota combined with associated host molecular and clinical metadata can (a) classify symptoms and/or histology at diagnosis (baseline), and (b) predict symptoms and/or histology after 1 year of GFD.