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Biotech trailblazers tackle infertility with microbiome modulation

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | sashkinw
Getty | sashkinw

Related tags Fertility microbiome Probiota

Two Argentinian biotech entrepreneurs who are using microbiome modulation in an aim to treat some of the most complicated causes of infertility have won tickets to Probiota 2020 after winning NutraIngredients’ Pioneers competition.

Gabriela Gutierrez and Leandro Barreiro, co-founders of Microgenesis​, have created a new infertility diagnosis and treatment service based on evidence that the most complicated cases of fertility are often related to immunology problems.

The immunology experts are some of the first to discuss dysbiosis and immunology problems in relation to fertility and its their radical thinking that has won them one of three golden tickets to Probiota in Dublin next month (February 10-12).

The duo will join two other startup founders during the 'Probiota Pioneers' session. They will present their business venture and receive feedback and advice from the audience of microbiome modulation experts.

Speaking to NutraIngredients ahead of their presentation, Gutierrez explains they have developed the first functional and noninvasive test - using swabs taken by the patient - that identifies miRNAs associated with bacterial and fungal dysbiosis that trigger autoimmunity in infertile patients. 

The team uses preventative treatment - in the form of biomedical diets, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and probiotics - to change in the functionality of the immune system so as to affect fertility and related pathologies, explains Gutierrez.

Probiota 2020

The rapidly evolving universe of probiotics, prebiotics and the microbiome will be discussed in-depth at the upcoming Probiota 2020​​ in Dublin on February 10-12.

From microbiome advances, to start-up game changers, market stats, crucial clinical science and regulatory knowledge, this is a congressional must-have. 

Will you be joining your peers in one of Europe’s greatest cities?

“Fertility rates have decreased 50% during the last 70 years whereas autoimmunity reported cases in women have increased at the same time," ​she says.

“Environmental and social changes have directly affected the composition of human microbiota, which is associated with an immune system response.

“For this reason, interest in functional studies of the human microbiota as a key factor in reproductive health and diseases is growing.

“For this reason, Microgenesis developed the first functional and non-invasive test that identifies miRNAs associated with bacterial and fungal dysbiosis that trigger autoimmunity in unfertile patients.”

Gutierrez is scientific researcher at CONICET, a company creating diagnostic tools and treatment strategies for immunological abnormalities in women with reproductive failures.

During her time at CONICET, Gutierrez helped develop the innovative test named TIME​that detects immunological causes of infertility.

Foto Gaby
Gabriela Gutierrez

“TIME detects not declared diseases such as diabetes or celiac disease but can potentially develop into them according to environmental exposition triggering immune disbalances at mucosal level," ​she explains.

"During pregnancy, there is a constant flow of immune cells in the endometrium which are necessary for the proper formation of the placenta and fetal development.

"However, in altered immunological environments, these cells act in an opposite manner, recognising the cells of the developing embryo as foreign and attacking them, which could lead to pregnancy problems.

"These altered immunological environments occur in situations in which the woman is going through some inflammatory process or is suffering from a specific disease, even if she has not yet manifested symptoms. In this aspect, the endometrium plays a crucial role, since it is able to detect if the woman’s organism is going through any of these situations and, therefore, is not prepared to develop and carry a pregnancy to term.

"Due to these endometrial characteristics, it is essential to have a tool that, through the measurement of immunological parameters, can detect women’s health issues and, at the same time, help to successfully solve their infertility problems by the application of a personalised treatment.

WhatsApp Image 2017-05-11 at 18.08.48
Leandro Barreiro

“After TIME, about 75% of our patients get positive for endometrial and clinical immunological dis-balances. Pregnancy rate increases up to 66% after treatment, and birth rate get rise from 8% up to 78%. We already managed to have more than 300 babies born worldwide."

Barreiro is an external scientific adviser for Pornacera SA, a technology-based company, dedicated to the commercialisation of personalised and preventive medicine products which has a wide network of assisted fertility clinics in Spain.

The two met when they worked together to create a dual-test to detect unexplained infertility due to inmunological disorders and endometrial receptivity.

After two years of collaboration, Gabi and Leo co-founded Microgensis in June 2019, the only company to offer immunology, genetics and microbiome health tests, working with Latin and Spanish fertility clinics. 

This year, the duo has received angel investment of $200,000 for a two year project to expand across Europe.


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