From Microbe to Man: Viome's Clinical Research Initiatives
No true scientific breakthrough was ever achieved without the relentless pursuit of discovery – and most of that was done in a laboratory setting. There really is no way around it, most of the science we benefit from today was conducted by researchers studying complex mechanisms to find answers to the many “hows” of life. These investigations require years and sometimes even decades of work, with little to no real recognition of the trials and tribulations scientists experience. It’s a tumultuous journey with no guarantee that what you pursue can be obtained. It also takes incredible perseverance and critical thinking skills with a creative and innovative edge. To become a researcher, you must overcome more than just academic obstacles – you often have to outthink your predecessors. To become a great researcher, you must even outperform your ultimate competitor consistently – yourself.
But great science can take eons to make it to clinical relevance. With every cutting-edge experiment comes a lengthy process to make it translatable to the general public. We know that to drive innovation, you must employ every resource available, and our vision is to redefine how the world views health care. Consequently, that means creating state of the art clinical studies that not only further advance our current knowledge of the gut microbiome and disease, but using what we learn to effectively enhance our services with real, actionable results based on the science that’s constantly changing the world.
The Viome Files: A Look Into Our Clinical Studies
Our scientists run an extensive clinical research program that is extremely focused on developing science-based personalized nutrition algorithms towards treatment, prevention, and reversal of chronic diseases. As we all know, the current medical system focuses mostly on managing symptoms, without ever curing chronic diseases. This is the main reason why Viome was formed, to finally understand the root causes of chronic diseases and design precision diets for every person, so we can all live a long and healthy life.
We have many clinical studies going on and are working in partnership with leading organizations like the Mayo Clinic, GSK, and others which will allow us to make a greater impact in less time. Although we have many studies planned (the list never ends!), let’s take a look at just a few and what we hope to learn from them.
1. Glycemic Response
In Viome’s latest breakthrough clinical research study, we found that the glycemic response to foods varies greatly based on each person’s unique gut microbiome. In this scientific paper published by our researchers , we describe the clinical study in which we compare how different foods affect blood glucose on an individual level. Although, as humans, our digestive system works very similarly, the unique makeup of our gut microbiome can influence how that broken-down sugar gets released into our bloodstream. It is not the food an individual eats but the individual characteristics including what the gut microbiome does with the food that matters when determining what foods are "healthy" for that person. So, although you might feel a quick release of energy from that banana you had with breakfast, someone else may feel lethargic, or another person might feel like their blood sugar spiked like they just ate a candy bar!
2 . “Diabesity”
We’re sure you’ve heard of Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity, but some healthcare specialists consider the two so tightly intertwined, they’ve coined the term “ Diabesity.” The role of the gut microbiome in relation to the two is also heavily linked, with researchers suggesting our gut microbes may have a larger part to play with our weight loss and blood sugar regulation efforts than previously thought. Based on our clinical studies on 1000s of participants, we have been able to design personalized nutrition algorithms whose goal is to reduce the symptoms associated with Diabesity. Viome will perform several clinical trials with highly respected partners, including the Mayo Clinic , to test how well our personalized nutrition program affects two important measures of Diabesity: HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin A1c) and BMI (body mass index). Together, we will enable a better understanding of how nutrition affects chronic diseases, and explore the effectiveness of personalized nutrition as a strategy to help in treatment, and possibly even prevention, of these diseases.
3. Oral Cancer
You may think we only study the gut microbiome, but we’re fascinated with the many places where microbes call us home – including our oral microbiome. That’s right, in your mouth is a whole new world of microbes, very different from the ones inside your digestive system, but just as rich and diverse. Because of this, many of your oral microbes have very different functions and interact with our health in different ways – including how they influence our risk for oral cancer. Currently, we are preparing to explore this path to create a better way for physicians to assess and diagnose oral cancer development.
4. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Many studies have shown how the gut microbiome may be implicated in the symptoms of ASD – a developmental disorder that is characterized by a wide range of behaviors. Currently, the Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 59 children in the U.S. are affected by ASD, making it an increasingly relevant disorder to explore. Viome has teamed up with specialists in the field at the Children’s Integrated Center for Success (CICS) to further study the causes of autism, adding a line of clinical studies to our queue.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is more than just a chronic nuisance; it can feel like a house-arrest life sentence. It can interrupt your day to a level that impacts not just which foods you eat and how you feel, but your relationships and inflict fear every time you leave the house. For individuals with IBS, variations in the gut microbiome have been shown to influence symptoms. Viome has carried out a clinical study with researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles to understand the role of the gut microbiome in IBS. Viome has also conducted an independent study on IBS patients, with the combined study size of more than 1200. Data obtained from these studies allowed us to not only understand which gut microbiome functions are implicated in IBS, but also to develop algorithms that will attempt to modulate these functions to be closer to healthy in upcoming clinical trials.
6. Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers due to its difficulty to diagnose and seemingly elusive symptoms. Scientists at New York University (NYU), led by Drs Miller and Cohen have now demonstrated that the gut microbiome is directly responsible for the onset and maintenance of pancreatic cancer. Viome has teamed up with the NYU researchers to study pancreatic cancer patients and understand the root cause of this horrible disease. The goal is to not only diagnose cancer earlier, but to develop personalized nutrition that prevents pancreatic cancer.
7. Precision Vaccines
Viome has joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a new effort to extend the efficacy of vaccines from infectious to chronic diseases. In addition, Viome’s technology will enable GSK to improve the efficacy and safety of existing and future vaccines. Our goal is to make a collaborative stance evolving the current paradigm in the vaccine industry. We’re committed to bringing the next generation of vaccines that target the microorganisms that cause chronic diseases. Previous vaccines were prophylactic in nature and focused on infectious diseases. However, Viome and GSK are leading the efforts to identify the microbes and their mechanisms that contribute to chronic diseases and creating new tests to identify the individuals best suited for these new precision vaccine therapies.
Applying New Discoveries To Your Viome Insights
It is one thing to study disease and it’s another to integrate what is learned into real ways to help people. This clinical application typically takes years – a long series of clinical trials and an even longer time to find platforms or ways to utilize the knowledge gained. Viome, however, can take what is learned and immediately share it by incorporating changes to our machine-learnt model that gives it the constant ability to grow and evolve with the ever-expanding knowledge attained from our clinical research!
What takes many organizations ten years to complete, can be done in a year.
But first and foremost, we believe in authenticity and transparency as an innovative wellness platform. Just like doctors do, we vow to do no harm - and emphasize this by partnering with some of the best in the field. Each and every study is nurtured by the Viome family, committed to changing how the world views health. Viome stands to take down the current failings of the healthcare industry and help uplift and empower innovative research efforts.
We’re not just breaking the mold of the health care system – we’re reimagining it – and every day we’re one step closer toward our primary goal: eliminating chronic disease from your - and everyone else’s - vocabulary.
*The information on the Viome website is provided for informational purposes only and with the understanding that Viome is not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Viome is providing this educational information to share the exciting developments being reported in the scientific literature about the human microbiome and your health. Viome products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.