Research at K.G. Jebsen Coeliac Disease Research Centre

A main goal of the Centre will be to translate advances in the basic understanding of the pathogenesis of coeliac disease to the clinic – to improve disease diagnostics, to implement novel treatments and to identify new therapeutic targets for this common disease.

The work at the Centre will revolve around three axes - development of new diagnostics, testing novel treatments and defining novel therapeutic targets.

Axis 1: Development of new diagnostics

Develop and validate assays to improve diagnostics of coeliac disease that are based on the unique immunological features of the disorder will be developed along three avenues

a) HLA tetramers detecting gluten-reactive T cells
b) Serologic assays harnessing patient-derived monoclonal antibodies
c) High-throughput sequencing of coeliac specific T-cell receptor (TCR) sequences

Outcomes and implications

Our work should lead to improved and simplified diagnostic work-up of coeliac disease by using blood-based tests only, without the need of gastroendoscopy. This will be particularly useful for the increasing number of patients who adhere to a gluten-free diet without an established diagnosis.

Axis 2: Testing novel treatments

Novel therapies that have their foundation and rationale in discoveries made in part by scientists in Oslo are currently explored in clinical trials. The results of these clinical trials will determine usefulness of the new treatments, and they may also give valuable feedback to our current understanding of the pathogenesis.

Outcomes and implications

Scientists at the Centre will partake in upcoming clinical trials testing new drugs for coeliac disease. Safe and effective novel therapies will fulfil an unmet medical need for coeliac disease patients.

Axis 3: Defining novel therapeutic targets

We will interrogate transcriptional pathways in antigen-specific cells that are under genetic control of susceptibility genes in coeliac disease to identify new therapeutic targets. Our observations from basic research point to B cells as the key antigen-presenting cell for gluten-specific T cells. It is conceivable that interference with this process will affect coeliac disease, and we seek to explore drug targets in this landscape.

Outcomes and implications

Promising new drug targets will hopefully be identified by insights obtained in immunological and genetics studies. Evidence for efficacy will be obtained in preclinical testing using highly relevant assays with patient-derived cells and immune receptors.

 

Published July 6, 2016 10:43 AM - Last modified May 18, 2017 9:12 AM