Dr. Williams Turpin will apply the grant to a project aimed at identifying a microbe that can serve as targets for novel drug therapy to prevent or treat inflammatory bowel disease
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan. 29, 2019 /CNW/ -- The Biocodex Microbiota Foundation (BMF), an organization founded by Biocodex and dedicated to inspiring scientific projects that explore the structure of microbiota, has announced Dr. Williams Turpin as the winner of the 2018 Canadian grant to research microbiota and directed therapies in chronic intestinal diseases. Turpin, a research associate at the University of Toronto, will use the grant to further the study of specific microbes and whether they contribute to the onset of Crohn's disease.
Turpin and his colleagues have recently identified change in the composition of microbes that are associated with a higher risk of developing Crohn's disease, an autoinflammatory disease that leads to the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and for which there is no cure today. Canada has some of the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, the two main inflammatory bowel diseases, affecting more than 230,000 people, according to Turpin.
"IBD is a very important topic, and it is important to identify what triggers this disease and to discover ways to prevent people from developing it," says Turpin. "By identifying the microbiomes that can cause Crohn's, you can change the risk profile of an individual to prevent the onset of the disease."
Williams began his research into microbiota while completing a Ph.D. in biotechnology and microbiology in France. Now at the Mt Sinai Hospital IBD center at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, University of Toronto he is currently investigating the effect of environmental factors and genotypes on human microbiome composition in the context of the prospective cohort Genetic, Environmental Microbial (GEM) project. The 10-year, multi-country GEM project recently hit a milestone of 5,000 participants who have a sibling or parent with the disease, of which 70 have now been diagnosed with Crohn's.
The BMF Canada grant will enable Turpin to continue researching whether certain microbes associated with higher CD risks contribute to the onset of or actually cause CD in healthy people. "This will help me create a proof of principal that this will actually work, and really is the beginning of a larger story," he says.
His project will study mice inoculated with stool from donors who are initially healthy but then later develop CD as well as individuals who remained healthy during the same period of time. The mice's microbiome composition will be analyzed, as will their immune responses to the potentially pathogenic microbiome. The goal is to identify a microbe that can serve as targets for novel drug therapy to prevent or treat the development of inflammatory bowel disease.
The BMF's grants are part of an international multi-year research initiative to understand the interaction between microbiota and different pathologies. There are multiple worldwide grants offered, and this year's Canadian grant focused on chronic intestinal diseases.
The total grant amount is 25,000 euros, and the winner was chosen by BMF's scientific board, comprised of Dr. Levinus (Leo) Dieleman from University of Alberta, Dr. Deanna Gibson from University of British Columbia Okanagan and Dr. Elena Verdu from McMaster University.
Biocodex, a pharmaceutical company and maker of Florastor®, has been a leading researcher and provider in the microbiota field for the last 30 years. As the company continues to evolve, more emphasis has been placed on increasing awareness and placing reputable data at the fingertips of both consumers and healthcare professionals. To push this initiative forward, Biocodex launched in tandem the Biocodex Microbiota Foundation and the Biocodex Microbiota Institute in June of 2017. Together, these two entities are working to advance research and understanding of the human microbiota and gut flora.
About Biocodex Biocodex is a family-owned, international pharmaceutical research, development, manufacturing and commercial enterprise operating in more than 100 countries. Founded in 1953, the company has been widely recognized for its unique probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745®, the first probiotic drug of its kind that has a positive effect on the gut's microflora. Today, Biocodex has transformed itself beyond its probiotic drug roots, expanding into therapeutic areas including gastroenterology, pain management, oncology, neurology/psychiatry, rheumatology and otolaryngology. Biocodex is dedicated to providing its customers with meaningful healthcare solutions and remaining responsible to ensure every aspect of their business is conducted with integrity.
About Biocodex Microbiota Foundation The Biocodex Microbiota Foundation's mission is to support research into microbiota and its interaction with various pathologies. Research is supported through grants given to projects that investigate the implication of microbiota in human health. BMF supports both fundamental and applied research, and projects are selected annually by a committee of independent, international scientists.
The BMF's primary activity remains the awarding of annual grants to innovative scientific research projects that explore the structure and impact of microbiota. The BMF also runs and helps establish programs to improve our understanding of microbiota and disseminates this knowledge as widely as possible. Finally, the BMF can establish public projects involving microbiota which aim to help improve human health.
The Biocodex Microbiota Foundation (BMF) is a non-profit, general interest organization.