Research into the microbiome is still in its infancy and yet has already revealed its potential role in a host of diseases, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, preterm birth and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), as well as numerous connections between the oral microbiome and systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac disease and pancreatic cancer. Reflective of the microbiome’s potential as “the most exciting frontier in medicine,” according to Francis Collins, Director, NIH, are the numerous collaborative research projects underway, such as the Integrative Human Microbiome Project Research Consortium and the Human Microbiome Project, as well as any number of consortia at research institutions as Stanford, Arizona State University and others.
With an increasing awareness that many of our modern diseases are “lifestyle” related and that greater than 50% of current medications do not work for the individuals taking them, research in the microbiome presents a potential opportunity to provide significant preventative treatments, cures, therapies and supplements – with few or no adverse events - for a worldwide audience. Reflective of this trend is the fact that investment opportunities are growing in this area and many companies are rapidly moving towards potential translational work and the introduction of commercial ventures.
But there are numerous challenges and hurdles to be overcome before that value can be fully realized. Building on Arrowhead’s bespoke knowledge developed over the last six years of the very similar issues facing the personalized medicine space, this conference will focus not on pure research but rather on research squarely focused on the potential for translational interventions and the challenges the industry will need to address to make this space successful.