Software innovation firm among beneficiaries of coeliac disease research boost

A software innovation company has become one of three companies to benefit from a £750,000 boost to research that addresses the challenges of people living with coeliac diseases.

Clevert Ltd, based in Newcastle, will work with researchers from Sheffield University to find patients with coeliac disease that need more support, compared to those who are living well. The software, when developed, will let people receive the assurance of being clinically followed up without the inconvenience, time and cost of hospital appointments. Whilst those who need additional care will be identified quickly and easily so that they can access crucial support when they need it most. This could be technology that is applied to other conditions in the future.

National charity Coeliac UK and Innovate UK are behind the drive to improve research in this area.

Dr Kath Mackay, director of Ageing Society, Health and Nutrition at Innovate UK, said: “Stimulating innovation in our food and health sectors are crucial components of the government’s industrial strategy. By working with Coeliac UK we will be able to offer funding that results in improved quality of life for people with this condition and support and stimulate our vibrant health care and food technology sectors.”

Other projects that have received support include a new test to provide a less invasive way of diagnosing coeliac disease from Nonacus in Birmingham, which will rely on a proprietary laboratory test in conjunction with a patented computer algorithm. It aims to develop a coeliac disease test for people who have already adopted a gluten free diet, as well as an improvement on the current method of analysing biopsy samples.

There will also be the development of three new plant proteins to help improve the ingredients used in gluten free bread from Nandi Proteins in Scotland.

Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK said: “Coeliac UK is a world leader on coeliac disease, supporting research that makes a real-world impact. This new research to create a different diagnostic test could help unlock a worldwide problem for millions of people without a proper diagnosis of coeliac disease, while the research on innovative gluten free ingredients will keep the UK ahead in the food industry’s expansion into gluten free. Meanwhile our third funded project could offer real savings to the NHS in the management of the lifelong autoimmune condition that is coeliac disease providing a service model for the many other chronic long-term conditions in the UK.”

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