This month saw the first annual workshop of the Food, GI-tract Functionality and Human Health Cluster (PROEUHEALTH), a grouping of 64 research partners from 16 European countries working together to obtain greater knowledge of the role of the intestinal microbiota in human health and disease.
The research cluster, which began work in February last year, aims to develop new diagnostic tools for gut health as well as new functional foods and therapies. It is subsidised by the European Commission's 5th Framework, Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources Programme.
The research innovations produced by the cluster will be disseminated to target audiences through three platforms.
The Science Platform will provide an internal dissemination and networking platform for the cluster, while the Industry Platform will enable the cluster to disseminate its research innovations to probiotic industries throughout Europe and the world and maximise the potential for commercial exploitation of results from the cluster's research. The Consumer Platform will provide information to consumers about the cluster and its innovations.
The cluster aims to achieve a clearer understanding of the relationships between food, intestinal bacteria and human health and disease. Scientists will use new molecular research tools for studying the composition and activity of the intestinal microbiota and investigate new therapeutic and prophylactic treatments for intestinal infections, chronic intestinal diseases, and for healthy ageing. They will also look into the molecular understanding of immune modulation by probiotic bacteria and the testing of probiotics as vaccine delivery vehicles.