In one of the latest advances in personalised microbiome research we have Harvey and Harvetta, “virtual physiological humans”! These “virtual male and female human metabolic models are built from literature and data on human metabolism, anatomy and physiology, as well as biochemical, metabolomic and proteomic data. They are anatomically interconnected as whole-body metabolic models, comprising more than 80,000 biochemical reactions distributed over 26 organs and six types of blood cells. Notably, these models can also be expanded to include gut microbial metabolism”. The researchers have been able to successfully predict biomarkers of inherited metabolic diseases, paving the way for highly personalised disease treatment.
These virtual models can be used for both personalised medicine as well as personalised nutrition purposes. With the long term convergence of food and medical sectors the difference really will be moot.
Personalised microbiome commercialisation
An example of the early personalised microbiome commercialisation is Sun Genomics which just raised US8.65m in Series A financing. Sun’s flagship product is Floré that uses “whole-genome sequencing to evaluate samples, then recommends personalized products based on users’ unique gut profiles”. The USD300 Floré product includes a kit to collect a stool sample which is sent for analysis by partner Illumina. 6 weeks later the customer receives a microbiome report and a 90 day supply of tailored probiotics. Early days, but together with the rise of companies such as Viome and Thryve, it’s another definite signal of the future of food.
The future is that each of us could have a constantly updated “virtual physiological twin” like Harvey or Harvetta. Rather than the old generic prescription of medicines and/or food both could easily be personalised to our individual needs.
Personalisation like this is part of the driving force behind the MegaFuture™ of Food, Personalised Wellness. The microbiome is one of the 5 technologies driving this MegaFuture™ as people seek individualised wellness solutions.
We’re barely scratching the surface of microbiome research and there’s lots more to come.
Watch this space!