- European Regulatory Opportunities for the Next Decade:
- Beyond The Gut
- Pre & Probiotics Futures
IPA has been dipping back into the webinar. First up was a presentation from Ruairi Robertson PhD at Queen Mary University in London on what the future may hold for microbiome science.
Now, let’s take a brief look at an offering from Dr. Vanessa Stadlbauer, Clinical Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist and Associate Professor at Medical University of Graz. Dr. Stadlbauer’s team focusses on gut microbiome, gut permeability and innate immunity in various chronic liver diseases while conducting clinical trials to potentially modulate the gut-liver axis with prebiotics or probiotics.
Microbiome Modulation in Metabolic Disorders
Dr. Stadlbauer began her presentation with a discussion on obesity, a complex disorder that in addition to being pandemic, is increasing during the COVID-19 crisis. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including obesity that contributes to the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
- The gut microbiome role in obesity with focus on the immune system and inflammation
- Diet and drug interactions with the microbiome were identified as possible targets for probiotic research.
- Alternate day fasting in healthy volunteers may benefit the microbiome as well as metabolism.
- Prebiotics, probiotics and fecal microbiome transplants (FMT) may have a role in management of metabolic syndrome.
- Different probiotic strains have different effects on weight management. Three studies were described in detail.
“Microbiome modulation can be successful in obesity. Changing the microbiome with probiotics for example may be part of the multimodal, and personalized therapeutic concept.”
Following the talk, moderator Wai Lang Chu, Editor at William Reed Business Media asked several intriguing questions of Dr. Stadlbauer.
Paraphrased Q &A:
How does the microbiome figure in the increased risk of severe symptoms and death of obese people with Covid-19 infection?
As with Covid-19, obesity links to microbial changes including a decrease in diversity and shifts in taxa. These two inflammatory disorders may lead to cytokine storms and worse outcomes.
Will interest in gut-microbiome therapies increase?
As research has advanced, with better tools to study the microbiome and identification of next-generation probiotics with specific functions, the next 5 to 10 years should see more therapies targeting disease.
Is microbiome science mature enough to compete with other therapies for metabolic disease or is that in the distant future?
Microbiome research is catching up. In 5 to 10 years, I hope we can diagnose dysbiosis just like we measure other biomarkers such as fasting glucose.
What is the mechanism of action behind the potential use of probiotics in addressing weight management?
- Altering the influence of gut microbes on energy extraction, which is no longer as useful as it was once.
- Impact on the gut-brain axis, which may influence hormones such as leptin, changing satiety.