Ramón y Cajal Institute of Health Research (IRYCIS) and 2B Blackbio have signed an agreement that aims to develop microarrays for the prevention of diet-related diseases.
There are two fundamental objectives that participants hope to achieve through this agreement. On the one hand, they will try to get a method to determine the real effect of the so-called functional foods in our genetics and on the other, to develop a system for the detection of the most important food allergies in an early, less intrusive manner.
From the scientific point of view, the project tries to give reasons and evidence to the well-known fact that all what we eat affects our health. In fact, we all have a general idea of what is a healthy diet.
But we have experienced, either in ourselves or people we know, that there are foods that feel better to some than to others.
Genetics are behind this different behavior of our metabolism to what we eat. Therefore, the ideal situation would be one in which doctors could tell each one of us what we should eat to stay healthy and prevent diseases related to diet.
This personalization of diagnosis is the current trend in medicine. Technological advances in the field of genetics put scientists in the best position to meet the challenge of personalizing treatment.
Microarrays are one of those developments and form the basis of the system that this public-private partnership is seeking to produce in relation to food.
Microarrays are devices that allow simultaneous analysis of a large number of variants of genetic material. They are used to identify and detect changes in these variants in different biological samples, for example, before and after ingestion of certain food or drug.
In other words, the microarray can distiguir those genetic markers which make us unique with respect to the rest and associate them with a particular aspect of our health, in this case, food.
Beginning with microarrays as DietCHip CholestChip, both developed by these groups, the consortium will attempt to decipher whether the "healthy" components of functional foods have a real effect in our gene regulation. This microarray-based approach will also serve to develop tools to predict the evolution of food allergies in a way as early as possible, and using procedures less uncomfortable for the patient.
The project is being developed as part of another major project, Henufood, in which 9 companies and 11 research centers in Spain are involved, with support from the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Henofood researches foods and ingredients common in our diet in order to demonstrate their beneficial health properties.