Indeed, Sharp said at the meeting, patients who come to Cleveland Clinic for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease express their own concerns about such approaches, which could include the use of probiotics, the consumption of live microorganisms, to treat intestinal and other maladies. “Many patients are worried about manipulating their gut microbiota,” Sharp said, adding that “they see these kinds of studies through the lens of genetically modified foods. They worry that tampering with the gut microbiome could lead to irreversible effects.”Sharp also urged the microbiome research community, along with funding agencies, to start doing more public outreach to counter the often “grossly misleading” statements made by companies that sell probiotic products, including claims that probiotics can cure cancers and treat autism spectrum disorders. “Most of what people know about this area of research comes from these retailers,” Sharp said. “We should not be relying on these companies to put out the first messages about this area of research.”
This is an interesting article on what’s next for human microbiome research. It lists some of the companies getting involved (great!) and some talk about what will happen to jumpt start a whole new round of funding.
What was surprising to me was how little money was put into the multi-year programs (total $167M). Prehaps I don’t have a feel for what’s a lot of money in research.