In September 2018, a new type of research, called MyOwnResearch, will launch in The Netherlands. In this project, data from individual patients will be collected and combined in order to gain insight in chronic diseases and find the optimum treatment for specific subgroups.
Fatigue and abdominal complaints in chronic illnesses
MyOwnResearch focuses on the frequently seen combination of fatigue and abdominal symptoms in patients with chronic illnesses, for whom a treatment with probiotics and other supplements may be a potential solution. This is based on the premise that gut health is directly related to overall health as well as brain function. The treatment will differ from patient to patient and will be tailored to the state of an individual’s gut health. In addition, the patients themselves will decide what they want the treatment to achieve (e.g. feeling less tired, less pain, sleep better). This approach will allow the researchers to find subgroups and help figure out why certain treatments are effective in some, but not all, patients.
Practice based evidence building
MyOwnResearch is ‘practice based evidence building’, which is a new type of research that can help gain insight in diseases and chronic illnesses of which the underlying mechanisms are unclear, or for which we do not yet have an adequate treatment.
Is the Gold Standard still enough?
Scientific evidence rendered by randomized, double blind, placebo controlled studies is considered to be the best basis for medical treatment (the so called Gold Standard). This kind of approach gives us an estimate of the effectiveness of a treatment, based on an average patient. However, there are many poorly understood diseases, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, in which a large variety of factors play a role, and where only a relatively small part of the patients respond to traditional evidence based treatments.
Patients take matters into their own hands
Frustrated by lack of available options or effectiveness, many patients often look for unconventional ways to improve their own health. They submit themselves to diagnostic tests, adjust their diets and start taking supplements, such as probiotics. This may be effective, but the results are not documented systematically, so no one knows which treatments could work for which illness or which kind of patient.
Public-private partnership program
MyOwnResearch is funded by a public-private partnership program called BeterGezond (Better Healthy), which is a collaboration between 8 different health funds and the business sector with a budget of € 2.6 million.
Winclove will supply probiotics
Winclove is one of the parties involved in this research project. In the first phase of the project, Winclove will provide probiotics to individual patients, in order to discern between responders and non-responders to probiotic supplements. In the second phase, the researchers will try to define subgroup characteristics using specific predefined and new biomarkers, based on blood and stool samples. Based on these outcomes, Winclove can further optimize a probiotic formulation for a specific subgroup, by selecting strains based on the relevant working mechanism in the responder group. In phase 3 a randomized clinical trial (RCT) will be performed, which may validate the effects of the specific and newly developed Winclove probiotic formulation for the specific subgroup.
Improvement of Winclove’s probiotic formulations
Winclove will use the knowledge gained from this project for further product development and more specific marketing. More specifically: based on the outcomes of phase 1 and 2, Winclove will be able to better target its existing probiotic formulations, and by doing so, Winclove and its worldwide B2B network can better inform health care professionals which patients have a high chance of benefitting from a specific probiotic formulation. Furthermore, by defining new subgroups and linking them to potential working mechanisms, Winclove will gain new insights in potential target mechanisms and can use this information to upgrade the existing probiotic formulations for these specific populations. The project will also provide clues for further product development / upgrades, and supports Winclove in designing the most effective formulation for specific target groups. This will increase the chance of success when treating patients with probiotics.