Charity funds software to treat Coeliac patients at home

Innovate UK and Coeliac UK are funding the development of digital technology to help treat people with gluten intolerance without going into hospital.

Joe Lepper | 1st Feb 19
Image shows a laptop with doctor's instruments around it

The UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK has teamed up with a health charity to fund the development of digital technology to help people with coeliac disease be treated at home.

The project is part of a £750,000 package of funding between Innovate UK and Coeliac UK to help people with coeliac disease and other medical conditions caused by the body’s reaction to gluten found in food.

Through the project Newcastle based Cievert Ltd and Sheffield University researchers will develop software to help patients be treated at home without the need for hospital appointments.

Technology will also help identify those in need of additional care more quickly.

Coeliac UK Chief Executive Sarah Sleet, said this 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”.

Dr Kath Mackay, Director of Ageing Society, Health and Nutrition at Innovate UK, added: “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.”

Improving diagnosis

Two other projects to benefit from the funding include research into improving diagnosis of coeliac disease, which currently takes 13 years on average to diagnose. It is estimated there are half a million people in the UK with the disease who are undiagnosed.

Funding will also be used to improve ingredients used in gluten free bread.

One in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease and one in four people with the disease had previously been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.