09/11/22

Winclove Probiotics supports Women for Women research project 

In a new unique research project led by microbiologists Rosanne Hertzberger and Remco Kort of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, women and their vaginal bacteria play a central role. Women with healthy vaginal bacteria will investigate whether they can help other women improve their vaginal health. The aim of this project fits Winclove’s mission perfectly: improving the quality of life and people’s health.  

Lactobacillus crispatus

Female health largely depends on the composition and functionality of the vaginal microbiota. The healthier this microbiota is, the lower the risk of vaginal and urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, reduced fertility, preterm birth, and menopausal complaints. Previous research shows that the presence of a specific bacterium is crucial for a healthy vaginal microbiota, namely Lactobacillus crispatus. Therefore, this research focuses on this bacterium in particular. 

Cultivating own vaginal bacteria

In the first phase of the project, women will isolate and culture their own vaginal bacteria. This means they are not only participants, but also co-researchers. And they remain so throughout all phases of the study. In fact, the women themselves are the driving force behind this study. This approach is better known as citizen science research. Moreover, they own their bacteria at all times and decide what happens to them.  

Female-friendly product

The second phase of this research focuses on developing a product to support vaginal health. To realize this, the research partners have sought collaboration with several knowledge partners, including Winclove Probiotics. Ideally this collaboration between knowledge partners, research partners and the women themselves will lead to a user-friendly, accessible, and women-friendly product. Such product will allow all women to take their health into their own hands and reduce the risk of vaginal and urinary tract infections. 

Winclove Probiotics provides expertise

Winclove will deploy its technical expertise in, among other things, isolating and culturing Lactobacillus crispatus bacteria. This generates experience and knowledge of the properties and application possibilities of these bacteria that are highly valuable for Winclove. Ultimately, this may well lead to the development of robust and efficient Lactobacillus crispatus strains to be used in future products. Although this goal remains uncertain, female health and confidence in the power of benign bacteria are the main drivers for Winclove.  

Research grant from ZonMw

This research project is both socially and technically innovative as citizen science will not only answer important research questions but it may also yield a tangible and unique product. Therefore, under the Citizen Science for Health and Care program, the Dutch science financier ZonMw has awarded a € 221.793,00 grant in order to start this research. 

Research initiated by the crispatus foundation

Rosanne Hertzberger and Remco Kort have set up the crispatus Foundation, together with ARTIS/Micropia. Under the banner of this Foundation, research into the properties and application possibilities of these Lactobacillus crispatus bacteria will be initiated. More information about the Foundation and the research can be found at crispatus.org. 

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