The Gut Microbiome and its Role in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Recently, the microbiome and its role in disease, particularly Inflammatory Bowel Disease has been the focus of much global attention. As our knowledge expands, could this plethora of research be harnessed to help understand the host response to medications? Manipulation of the host's gut microbiome could provide relief from the debilitating symptoms of IBD, whilst sequencing the genome of the organisms colonising these niche environments may open up new drug development avenues for pharma.

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    The Big Data Dilemma

    A database linking medical history and tissue compound response has direct relevance to future drug discovery projects and healthcare stratification. By making this data available to point-of-care centers, it could transform medication management approaches and improve individual patient care[1]. As the concept of integrating Big Data with healthcare is on the rise, it is increasingly appropriate to have reliable information at your fingertips.

    REPROCELL has initiated a research and development project where historical data regarding Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has been collated. Tissue samples were donated by patients for whom conservative treatment had failed and subsequently required surgical intervention. This data collection project is in its infancy, but it already includes the anonymized medical history of over 250 different donors.

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    Machine Learning and Big Data in Precision Medicine

    Healthcare data is predicted to expand by 43 percent by 2020, to an incomprehensible level of 2.3 zettabytes. The size of the data is also not the only inevitable issue, it’s the type of data. Eighty percent of it is completely unstructured and mostly unlabelled, meaning organizations will find it increasingly difficult to extract any value or outcomes from the datasets [1].

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    Pluripotent Potential for Clinical Application

    Since their development in the mid-2000s, the versatile nature of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) has unlocked the potential of curative approaches instead of symptom-reactive treatments. In particular, fields which deal with genetic disorders and regenerative therapies would benefit from this. The advancement of iPSC technology compliments the advent of personalized medicine, allowing for a future where individuals could be treated using autologous iPSCs.

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    An Improved Model for IBD Drug Discovery

    Animal models have been used for years to provide proof of concept for new therapies, however there are major flaws which need to be addressed. Studies using mouse models cannot accurately predict patient response to a new compound. Translatability requires a suitable model which will reduce attrition rates in phase II and III clinical trials which are proving to be of detriment to R&D productivity[1].

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    Application of Pharmacogenomics and Bioinformatics to Exemplify the Utility of Human ex vivo Organoculture Models in the Field of Precision Medicine

    It is well recognised that one size does not fit all when it comes to the treatment of many diseases. Getting the right drug to the right patient at the right dose has become the focus of precision medicine, which provides hope that patients may receive the most appropriate treatment sooner, improving their quality of life and reducing the support required from health care systems and wider society[1]. Health economists are recognising the potential of precision medicine and are beginning to apply the concept to their research[2].

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