Public Release: 

MICROB-PREDICT -- €15 million EU funded microbiome research project kicks off

Developing personalised targets for treatment of decompensated cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF)

European Association for the Study of the Liver

Barcelona, Spain, 1 February 2019 - An EU Horizon 2020-financed project investigating methods to better understand the role of the microbiome to help stratify patient health care and treatment of decompensated cirrhosis and ACLF officially commenced last month. The innovative endeavour, known as MICROB-PREDICT, involves a 22-member multinational and multidisciplinary consortium of world-leading microbiome specialists, clinical experts, and patient organisations. MICROB-PREDICT is an acronym for "MICROBiome-based biomarkers to PREDICT decompensation of liver cirrhosis and treatment response". Cirrhosis is the cause of 1.2 million deaths worldwide annually . It is estimated that less than 10% of ongoing studies in the field are focused on decompensated cirrhosis and ACLF . As a result, treatment options for patients are lacking considerably.

MICROB-PREDICT & the gut-liver-axis

The microbiome plays a critical role in the development and severity of cirrhosis, which is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. "One of our aims is to find the microbiome signatures of decompensation of cirrhosis and predict the development of ACLF. Moreover, this project will develop point-of-care devices to predict the response to specific treatments in these patients. The project has the potential to change the clinical practice towards more personalized medicine," says Prof. Jonel Trebicka, scientific coordinator of the MICROB-PREDICT consortium.

Potential for new treatment strategies

The project will base the development of biomarkers on high-quality data from three existing EU-funded projects (GALAXY, LIVERHOPE, and PREDICT). The knowledge gained throughout the 75 month project will contribute to the development of improved and potentially personalized therapies for patients suffering from cirrhosis and ACLF. A basic website about the project is already online (http://www.microb-predict.eu), and a more extensive project website will be launched in the coming months.

The 22 partners in the MICROB-PREDICT consortium coordinated by EF-CLIF are:

  • Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden (Leiden University Medical Center) (LUMC)

  • Biobyte Solutions GmbH (Biobyte)

  • Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA)

  • concentris research management GmbH (concentris)

  • Debreceni Egyetem (University of Debrecen) (UNIDEB)

  • European Association For The Study of the Liver (EASL)

  • European Foundation For The Study of Chronic Liver Failure (EF-CLIF)

  • European Liver Patients Association (ELPA)

  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)

  • Fundacio Clinic Per A La Recerca Biomedica (FCRB)

  • Fundacio Institut Catala De Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2)

  • Institut National De La Recherche Agronomique (INRA)

  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt Am Main (GUF)

  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)

  • King's College London (KCL)

  • Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (MPG)

  • Odense Universitetshospital (OUH)

  • Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

  • Universitetet I Oslo (UiO)

  • University College London (UCL)

  • University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

  • Vaiomer SAS (Vaiomer)

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1 - Murray CJ, Atkinson C, Bhalla K, Birbeck G, Burstein R, Chou D, et al (2013). The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA; 310: 591-608.

2 - Zutshi Y (2015). Liver Disease Treatments: The Global Market. BBC Research; PHM057C.

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