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The second phase of Human Microbiome Project has finished and the main results have been published last week. The HMP third phase starts focusing on clinical application.

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05/06/2019

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The key results of the second phase of the Human Microbiome Project have been published last week. The findings provides insights into inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes and premature birth. Now, the third phase starts with the main challenge of  translating the human microbiome project findings into clinical interventions.

The second phase of HMP has been called the integrative HMP (iHMP) because the studies carried out have analyzed both, the host and the microbiota:

One of the first large-scale initiatives was the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded 10-year Human Microbiome Project (HMP), launched in 2007. One of its biggest initial revelations was that the taxonomic composition of the microbiota in the human body was not a reliable predictor of host phenotype, such as disease susceptibility. This was the impetus for a more comprehensive analysis of both the microbiome and the host, culminating in the second phase, the integrative HMP (iHMP). The key results of this project are published this week in Nature and Nature Medicine.

This is the focus for the third phase:

Ultimately, the goal is to translate such findings into clinical interventions — a monumental challenge. This will require close multidisciplinary collaboration. For example, the microbiology community on its own is unlikely to identify the animal models that are most appropriate for investigating a particular medical condition, or to establish the minimum criteria for substantiating claims of causality. Multidisciplinary efforts require time and sustained funding to foster innovative ideas and drive translational research.

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Raquel Tobes