Linda Duffy, PhD., MPH
Scientific Chair, Trans-NIH DNRC/NCC/PPWG
Inter-agency Probiotics/Prebiotics and Microbiome SIG
Overview of Progress and Challenges in Probiotic/Prebiotic and Microbiome Research: NIH and Beyond
The overview provides insights into the molecular basis of therapeutic applications of selective probiotic microorganisms and metabolites, and the interaction between microbial-host metabolites and molecular signatures gaining attention as potential therapeutic strategies for cancers, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and neurocognitive disorders. Understanding the pharmacologic effect of the gut microbiota on response to drugs is an essential step towards tailored vaccines and other therapies that would be more efficient, cost-effective, and with lower adverse drug events. Specific strains of probiotics has been shown to have modulatory effects on intestinal and systemic immune responses in animal models and forms the rationale basis for human studies with vaccines. Bioactive microencapsulation and nanoparticulate systems are being used for different drug delivery systems and increasingly applied to probiotic food products. Through rigorous characterization of nutriceutical interactions between the diet and the microbiota, metabolomics is providing new ventures for validating biomarkers needed to advance probiotic/prebiotic strategies in modulating the microbiota toward the improvement of human health.