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Nutrition and microbiota: 4th symposium in Geneva

How integrated are gut microbiota to clinical outcomes? Can prebiotics and probiotics modulate gut microbiota? What is the role of gut microbiota in the treatment of cancers?

These are some of the crucial questions raised during the yearly symposium organised by the Geneva University Hospital (HUG) and sponsored by BINC Geneva. During this event, some leading Swiss and European scientists and physicians addressed the multiple interactions between microbiota, immunity, cancer, and nutrition supported by clinical case studies.

The connexions between microbiota and nutrition and its potential for prevention and treatment of diseases was highlighted. There is a growing interest to modulate the microbiota to control the progression of some diseases, which opens new areas of research and paves the way for personalized medicine.

Swiss and European research teams are conducting studies to determine the role of the microbiota in undernutrition, more specifically the loss of muscle mass associated to it (cachexia). These studies assess the effects of nutritional components and probiotics on the microbiota with the aim to identify bacteria associated with loss of muscle mass. More globally, identifying nutrition’s impact on the microbiota could lead to new therapeutic perspectives.

During the symposium, one central topic was also science’s growing interest to identify the interactions between microbiota and cancer. Preliminary research has shown that microbiota could be a risk factor in the occurrence of certain cancers. With some recent studies suggesting that the gut microbiota plays a key role in the tolerance and efficacy of some anti-cancer treatments.

One hypothesis is that nutrition could modulate the gut microbiota, subsequently influence the immune system and thus impacting prognosis of cancer patients.

The analysis of the microbiota, and specifically its modulation with nutrition, probiotics (allowing the proliferation of some bacteria) and prebiotics (living bacteria) could become additional therapeutic options to prevent diseases.

Professor Schrenzel, Head of the Bacteriology and Genomic Research Laboratory at Geneva University Hospitals also emphasized the importance of technical research processes, mentioning that:” In the current state of research, as each human microbiota is unique, it is necessary for researchers to provide detailed information on the experimental conditions under which their experiments are conducted. Standardized methods will be necessary to compare results and optimize scientific data analysis in the future.”

BINC Geneva, was proud to sponsor this highly qualitative scientific symposium which gathered more than 350 healthcare professionals. To conclude, as Prof. Genton, physician in nutrition at Geneva University Hospital and co-organizer of the nutrition and microbiota symposium stated:

“The success of this 2019 edition symposium is based on the translational research approach that doesn’t only focus on fundamental research but places “human” clinical observations and breakthroughs at the center of it”.