• A chip allows the early detection of the celiac disease

    March 25, 2013

    Researchers of the University of Oviedo develop an immunosensor for the early diagnosis of the celiac disease that allows the detection of the specific biomarkers of this illness with a single drop of serum.

    Agustín Costa and his team

    Led by the Tenured Professor of Analytical Chemistry Agustín García Costa, Researchers from the University of Oviedo have developed the first immunosensor to reach an early diagnostic of the celiac disease. The device is able, with a minimum dose of serum of the patient, to detect two biomarkers that determine the presence of the celiac disease.

    The early diagnostic of this disease would allow to substantially improve the quality of life of the patients, who in many cases suffer from severe digestive issues for years without knowing exactly their reason. The celiac disease is caused by an intolerance to the gluten protein and it manifests itself through important disruptions of the digestive system.

    This simple test would prevent the need for invasive surgical procedures in the patients and a substantial saving in for sanitary budget

    The chemical-analysis chip was conceived, at first, with the idea that the test would be performed on newborns and to be able to confirm the presence of the disease from the very first moment. The thesis of Marta Pereira da Silva, student of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Oporto, was directed by Professor Costa in Oviedo and has been one of the bases of the discovery.

    The techniques of immune-electroanalysis applied in this sensor are based on nanostructures that have been patented by the University of Oviedo. The chip designed for the diagnosis of the celiac disease has been promoted and supported by the Immunology Service of the Central University Hospital of Asturias (HUCA) and by Health Sens, created in September of 2009 as the result of the collaboration between the University and the Hospital.

    This diagnostic technology prevents the need for invasive surgical procedures in the patients and a substantial saving in for sanitary budget. Conservative statistics point out that around 1% of the Spanish population suffers from the celiac disease and a high percentage of them have not been diagnosed. The diagnostic system developed by the researchers of the University of Oviedo will greatly simply the processes of knowing whether a patient has the celiac disease or not.

    The work of the team of Professor García Costa has been met with great impact among celebrated international specialized publications, such as journals like Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Sensors and Acuators, Analyst or Chemistry World.