Microbiota modulation strategies in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Background

The microbial community in our guts is more and more implicated in various aspects of human health and disease. As such, this collection of microbes presents an as-of-yet underexplored target for treatment strategies for a wide variety of gut-related conditions.

This project will formulate microbiota modulating strategies in inflammatory bowel disease and includes the set-up of a validation pipeline that starts in the lab and ends in the clinic. More specifically, the research is focused on the development of microbe-based therapies for several forms of inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), which are characterized by a global need for more efficient treatment. The translational trajectory of the project (MIMOSA) follows a structured, streamlined and time efficient path with a clinical accelerator pipeline, a strong focus on only those microbiome-modulation research lines that passed the basic research stage, and a clinic-oriented, agile project taskforce. 

 

A strong reverse translational component in the form of a novel fast-track drug repurposing workflow reinforces the microbial cocktail development with a design strategy based on feedback from clinical trial insights. This will also be used to develop clinical guidelines with immediate application through close interaction with stakeholders.

Goals

This project aims to combine fundamental and applied research to deliver novel and effective treatment strategies that can be leveraged quickly for a large patient population

Specific goals are:

  • Explore microbiome-targeting treatment strategies for different types of inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Establish a clinical accelerator pipeline to yield fast results that can be implemented in patient treatment.

  • Ensure several intermediate deliverables and grow the project’s structural assets to secure long-term development of the project.

Facts & Figures

Start date:
01/11/2019
End date:
31/10/2022
Call:
Call 2
Funding:
2.5M€

Thematic area

Innovative biomarkers: precision medicine will be improved by translating innovative molecular diagnostic paradigms into clinical practice

Innovative treatments: precision medicine will be improved by translating new insights in molecular mechanisms of disease into clinical practice

Targeted treatment strategies: disease that prove difficult to target with classic drug delivery

Promotor

Partners

The consortium proposing this project brings together top-expertise in microbiology and clinical trials and development, including partners at Imelda General Hospital in Bonheiden. A close collaboration of the different groups involved will ensure a multidisciplinary approach.

 

VIB-UGent

Jeroen Raes • Johan Thevelein

KU Leuven- UZ Leuven

Séverine Vermeire

KU Leuven

Kathleen Machiels

Imelda General Hospital Bonheiden

Peter Bossuyt

 

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This is what Jeroen Raes has to say about the VIB Grand Challenges Program:

"I am very excited to receive the Grand Challenges funding. The microbiome field is moving from observing microbiota shifts in disease to actually trying to do something about it. In this project we will test multiple approaches to modulate the microbiota in inflammatory bowel diseases – I am really hoping we can contribute to ta ckling these dreadful conditions."

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Contribution to the project

The consortium proposing this project brings together top-expertise in microbiology and clinical trials and development, including partners at Imelda General Hospital in Bonheiden. A close collaboration of the different groups involved will ensure a multidisciplinary approach.

Core facilities involved

The VIB Nucleomics Core and the Metabolomics Core, both located in Leuven, bring in newly developed methodologies.

Capabilities

The objective of the VIB-GC program is to significantly increase the societal impact of VIB, hence taking its scientific leadership to the next level of global visibility, strategies between partners towards sharing of capabilities (samples, data, infrastructure) are prerequisite and motivated within the VIB GCP, aligned with the general principles of RRI and the Open Science policy of VIB in particular.

Expected impact

Jeroen Raes: "Through this project, the researchers will spread awareness about the potential of microbiota-mediated treatment  options in treating IBD. The development of alternative treatment strategies for IBD will also decrease the healthcare burden of this group of conditions and the impact on patients’ personal lives."

"I am very excited to receive the Grand Challenges funding. The microbiome field is moving from observing microbiota shifts in disease to actually trying to do something about it. In this project we will test multiple approaches to modulate the microbiota in inflammatory bowel diseases – I am really hoping we can contribute to tackling these dreadful conditions."

Séverine Vermeire (UZ Leuven) explains the impact of IBD on patients’ lives: “These conditions have a major impact on the quality of life of the patients. Up to a quarter of people suffering from ulcerative colitis and over half of Crohn’s disease patients will have to undergo surgical removal of significant parts of their bowels.”​

Contact

Sofie Bekaert, Manager Translational Program