Filament BioSolutions announced a partnership with the University of Ottawa and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to conduct a $7.4 million study of clinical applications of microbiome-based precision nutrition for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Filament is a clinical nutrition company developing therapeutic nutrition products to improve patient health. In this project, Filament will support the development of nutrition-based therapies that use resistant starch for the targeted regulation of gut bacteria in IBD. The grant will fund the development of patient-specific treatment regimens based on individual microbiome (the population of gut bacteria) composition and function.
The clinical nutrition company will lead activities related to the clinical, regulatory, product development, and commercialization strategies for these therapies. The initiative follows recent advances in the understanding of the microbiome’s involvement in IBD, which helps researchers now use the unique microbiome of each patient to identify optimal treatment strategies and to induce IBD remission.
“We are thrilled to be corporate partners on this grant with our collaborators at the University of Ottawa, CHEO, and Biotagenics on this comprehensive proposal studying the interface of clinical nutrition and the microbiome. This is a major first step bringing us closer to developing a nutritional therapy candidate for a widely recognized unmet medical need in IBD that will improve quality of care for these patients,” Tom Cirrito, chief executive officer of Filament, said in a press release.
“The project represents a unique multidisciplinary effort uniting the expertise of academia, clinical nutrition, biotechnology, and traditional food companies toward the common goal of disease modifying therapies for this debilitating life-long disease,” he added.
Nutrition has a clear connection with gastrointestinal and inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and others. Yet, in September 2016, a study by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation found that a significant number of IBD patients lacked important knowledge about nutritional care.
The study reported that IBD patients might be at greater risk of being malnourished and that care providers and patients were not having critical conversations about nutrition in the management of these diseases.
Assessing over 200 responses from healthcare providers from several specialties and over 500 responses from patients, researchers found that while 58.5 percent of patients felt nutrition was “very important,” only 36 percent said they talked on a regular basis with their doctors about nutrition.
Moreover, less than half of all providers believed that they had enough adequate nutritional care resources to assist patients and guide discussions regarding their IBD-specific diets.
The study, titled “Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs Regarding the Role of Nutrition in IBD among Patients and Providers,” was published in the September 2016 issue of the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
If precision medicine can successfully develop patient-specific treatment regimens based on individual microbiome composition and function, malnourishment in IBD could one day become a challenge of the past.
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