Coeliac UK has combined forces with Innovate UK to drive improvements worth £750,000 in the food technology, diagnostics and digital care industries to provide help for people who need to live gluten free.

The funding will support projects based in Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh and is part of Innovate UK’s partnership with the third sector on health research projects, aiming to bring direct benefits to both patients and UK businesses.

The three projects include a new test to provide a less invasive way of diagnosing coeliac disease, the development of three new plant proteins to help improve the ingredients used in gluten free bread, and software innovation to help in the ongoing management of coeliac disease.

Sarah Sleet, chief executive of the charity, said of the projects: “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.”

Coeliac disease is a serious illness where the body’s immune system reacts to gluten found in food, making the body attack itself, affecting approximately 1 in 100 people in the UK.