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Gastric Model Lands Funding for Expanded Applications

Dynamic Gastric Model (ModelGut.com)

Dynamic Gastric Model (ModelGut.com)

An artificial digestive system developed at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, U.K. for lab tests of physical and biochemical processes in the human stomach and intestines, secured more than £900,000 ($US 1.4 million) for research on new models of nutritional quality and health benefits. The two-year grant is provided to the Institute of Food Research by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, one of the science funding agencies in the U.K.

The award will support further studies and enhancements to the Dynamic Gastric Model, a system developed by the Institute of Food Research that provides a lab replica of the human digestive system and digestive processes in the stomach and intestines. The model is used to test the effects of pharmaceuticals and food products, as well as potentially harmful substances such as alcohol and contaminants. The institute says the model is a result of research going back 15 years.

The institute plans to apply the new funding to research on ways that the nutritional quality and health benefits of food can be influenced by their digestion. The model is also expected to be enhanced for tests that would otherwise be difficult or impossible in humans, such as drug/alcohol interactions and evaluations of infant formula.

“We will clearly demonstrate how well the model simulates and predicts the availability of nutrients or drugs in humans,” says Peter Wilde, who is leading the research for the institute, “and to refine the model so that it can be more widely used, and therefore reduce the reliance on animal and human studies.”

The Dynamic Gastric Model is a commercial as well as scientific asset for the Institute of Food Research. Bioneer, a drug development and contract research company in Denmark, has an exclusive license for providing third-party services using the model. Bioneer and Plant Bioscience Limited, the institute’s technology transfer company, agreed to the licensing deal last month.

Anette Müllertz, who heads Bioneer’s FARMA department that will provide their new services says the Dynamic Gastric Model “takes our services to a highly advanced level. In combination with our existing digestion models, we can now conduct advanced analyses along the whole gastro-intestinal tract.”

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