King's College London

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Professor Paul Ciclitira

Research interests

The research undertaken is primarily involved with two conditions. These are coeliac disease (gluten sensitive enteropathy) that affects 1% of the European population and inflammatory bowel disease of the ileo-anal reservoir (pouchitis) following a total colectomy for either ulcerative colitis (UC) or familial adenomatous polyposis coli (FAP).

The aims of the research in coeliac disease are:

  • To develop strains of wheat, rye and barley that retain the baking and nutritional qualities of the original cultivars but which do not exacerbate coeliac disease.
  • To characterise epitopes within wheat and related cereals that exacerbate coeliac disease.
  • To raise monoclonal antibodies to the toxic epitopes in order to
  • Develop improved assays to quantify the gluten content of foods for individuals with coeliac disease and
  • To improve our understanding the pathogenesis of the condition
  • To Investigate the pathogenesis and genetics of coeliac disease, the latter of which may permit developing a cDNA diagnostic test kit

The work in pouchitis is to investigate the pathogenesis of this condition. This involves investigating the role of the antibiotics, metronidazole and ciprofloxacin which can be used to treat the condition. We are concomitantly studying the effect of the probiotics (VSL#3) which can be used to treat the condition. We are attempting to characterise the intestinal flora by 35S-DNA molecular fingerprinting and sequencing in collaboration with the Sanger Institute in Cambridge. This is as a prelude to developing improved treatment modalities to improve our understanding of the pathogenetic role that bacteria have in this condition. In parallel work we are studying the role of immune cells and cytokines in the pathogenesis of the condition with immunohistochemistry of mucosal biopsies.

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