“Mining the Human Microbiome” – at Harvard Medical School

· TGI - Omics Medicine, TGI - Pathogens

Belgian biopharmaceutical firm UCB today announced a collaboration with researchers at Harvard to study the human microbiome in the intestine.

The project will classify new species found in the human microbiome and study their impact on the immune system. UCB is providing up to $4.5 million in funding over three years.

The goal is to identify new drugs for preventing and/or treating immunological diseases.

Christophe Benoist, Dennis Kasper, and Diane Mathis, all professors in the division of immunology in the department of microbiology and immunology at Harvard Medical School, will head the project called “Mining the Human Microbiome.”

“We hope this project will fundamentally shift the paradigm of drug development for immunological diseases, exploiting naturally occurring molecules evolutionarily designed to thwart or harness the immune system,” the Harvard researchers said in a statement. “If found, these molecules would be of enormous potential for probing immune system function, therapeutic application, and as a preventative therapy.”

Belgian biopharmaceutical firm UCB and Harvard signed an Innovative Research Alliance in 2011, and the microbiome project is the third collaboration between the two parties.





Comments RSS
  1. Alan V. Schmukler

    When the goal is to find new drugs, as opposed to just pure research, the process is corrupted from the start. Suppose the answer lies in increased levels of some nutrient that isn’t proprietary (like a natural vitamin). Will they produce a drug to raise vitamin C levels? The increase in “immunological” diseases is likely due to years of suppressive allopathic treatment. Another suppressive drug won’t fix that.


    • B. Valerie Peckler Singer

      Some of the answers may be in the balance of the entire internal microbial ecosystem. If drug companies are willing to do some basic research and share the data, that’s great. I’m concerned that they will try to build some custom microbes and patent them.


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