Dr Philip Riches

Dr Philip Riches - 2013 Coeliac UK/Guts UK Grant Winner
Dr Philip Riches – 2013 Coeliac UK/Guts UK Grant Winner

Title: Osteoporosis in coeliac disease associated with novel autoantibodies

Project Start Date: 1 May 2013

Completion Date: 31 December 2016

Osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones, is a common complication of coeliac disease, though it is often difficult to predict which patients will develop the condition. We looked after a patient with coeliac disease who developed very severe osteoporosis due to a protein in the blood that caused rapid bone breakdown. This patient did not respond to changing diet and calcium supplements but needed a powerful inhibitor of bone turnover. We have developed a test for this protein and found levels to be raised in some patients attending routine coeliac clinics. We aim to recruit over 600 patients with coeliac disease in whom we will gather detailed information about risk factors for osteoporosis. We wish to establish whether elevated levels of this protein can help identify coeliac patients with an increased risk of severe osteoporosis. If this research is successful it could form the basis of a simple blood test to identify those patients with coeliac disease who require additional investigation and/or more active treatment for osteoporosis.