The Global Health Microbiome Initiative
Our guts are host to a community of trillions of bacteria, known collectively as the microbiome. In the last decade, new discoveries have shown that the microbiome plays a fundamental role in our health, from autoimmune regulation to metabolic function and even mental health and behavior.
This new field of medicine is creating opportunities to treat some of the leading causes of disease worldwide, including metabolic and infectious diseases that predominantly affect patients in low- and middle-income countries. To drive forward the discovery of new therapies targeting these diseases, OpenBiome will:
- Use fecal transplantation to test whether changing the microbiome can prevent or reverse these diseases
- Use our experience in machine learning and microbiology to identify which bugs lead to therapeutic benefits and might become new therapies
- Connect and grow our network of experienced microbiome and global health researchers to facilitate groundbreaking research across the world.
Which diseases will be studied?
Early evidence shows that the human gut microbiome is linked to malnutrition, stunting, and infectious diarrheal diseases. These diseases impact 209 million people across the world each year, and our ability to treat these diseases has largely plateaued in recent decades. New treatment interventions are urgently needed.
Are there any global health microbiome studies happening now?
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM): OpenBiome's Transfer of Healthy Gut Flora for Restoration of Intestinal Microbiota via Enema (THRIVE) study will be the first in Africa using FMT as a therapeutic intervention. This proof-of-concept study will evaluate the safety and feasibility of FMT and look for signs of clinical improvement in children with SAM who have have not responded to standard treatment.
How can I join this effort?
The Microbial Ecology and Therapeutics for All (META) Network
We are developing the META Network, an international research consortium designed to leverage resources and expertise in the microbiome and the conditions it mediates, with a focus on neglected diseases. We believe that FMT is a key discovery tool for understanding how microbes drive health and disease, and for translating that knowledge into a new class of microbial therapies. The META Network's member researchers and practitioners will accelerate the pace of our collective work by:
1. Creating training opportunities
International opportunities for clinicians and scientists
2. Consolidating access to existing data
To inform new studies and investigations
3. Setting pan-continental standards
To accelerate our field and the runway between the bench and the bedside
4. Building common research infrastructure
To support and share insights in creating public stool banks and conducting FMT trials
5. Expanding public engagement
Identify and excite key stakeholders around the world to develop culturally appropriate communications and regulatory expectations for FMT research.