2REAL-GUTS; innovation in intestinal models for food research

Project acronym: 2REAL-GUTS

Funding: SIA RAAK-PRO, EUR 700,000.-

Partners: Fontys Hogescholen, Hubrecht Organoid Technology Foundation, Utrecht University, Wageningen University Research Centre, TNO

Project start: Anticipated October 2015

INT People: Jean-Paul Ten klooster, Stefan Vaessen, Laura M'Rabet, Raymond Pieters

Intestinal Models

The Research Group for Life Sciences & Chemistry has obtained SIA RAAK-PRO funding for the development and implementation of two innovative intestinal in vitro models. These models, that are derived from fundamental research can play an important role in the safety and efficacy evaluation of food ingredients. The study aims to further develop, optimize and implement the culture models to increase the biological relevance and coincidentally increase applicability of the models, contributing to the adoption of the systems by industry. With the development and especially the implantation of these in vitro models the researchers hope to be able to contribute to the reduction of the use of animals in the safety evaluation of food additives and ingredients. The project is designated with the acronym ‘2REAL-GUTS’ and is receiving approximately EUR 700,000 funding from the SIA RAAK-PRO programme. The aim is that the work will take 4 years to complete.

Addressing the needs of industry
From research over the last two decades it has become increasingly apparent that the intestine plays a crucial role in sustaining general health in human. Several companies have expressed a need for relevant in vitro research models for the intestine, enabling the possibility to use these models for the Research and Development of their products. The INT Research Group aims to substantially contribute to this need with the 2REAL-GUTS project.

Health benefits for animals and humans
The research will entail adjustment of the culture conditions of the models to ensure adaptation of the models to the specific needs and questions of the different partners in the consortium. Multiple test compounds that will be used to evaluate and validate the models, ensuring the possibility to address applicability issues. The project participants aim to contribute to a more accurate and scientifically sound support of health-improving (natural) food (ingredients). The project partners will work together in a co-creative manner to improve the available methods. Several of the participating partners have  already had quite some experience with the existing models, enabling a jump-start of the project.

The consortium  is made up of Universities of Applied Sciences (Fontys Hogescholen), The Hubrecht Organoid Technology foundation, Utrecht University, Wageningen University Research Centre and TNO. TNO and the public-private partnership Immuno Valley will play a role in the dissemination of the results of the project. The research output of the project will be made available to other parties by means of  symposia, publications and spin-off commercial applications. The project is a very clear example of how the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht can play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between fundamental research and commercial or industrial application. An anticipated spin-off of the project for education will be a specific minor-programme on ‘Applied Stem Cell Technology’.

For further information on this project please contact prof. Raymond Pieters (int.fnt@hu.nl). For more news updates from our group, subscribe to our newsletter at news. Stay tuned to this project page for further updates as the project progresses