2016 funding round - Emerging Researcher First Grant

Dr Paul Blatchford
The New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research Limited
Improving gut microbiota in IBD patients using enteral nutrition and curcumin
24 months

Lay summary

Paediatric Crohn’s disease (CD) is a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease characterised by pain and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract lining. Exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is a treatment for CD that beneficially alters the gastrointestinal environment. Formulations of EEN with the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial additive curcumin have shown better results than EEN alone in preliminary experiments. The combination warrants further investigation to ascertain the effects on the gut microbiota, an aetiological agent of CD. Patients with CD have a lower bacterial diversity in their colon as well as an absence of key beneficial bacterial species. The main objective of this study is to investigate in detail the efficacy of EEN-curcumin combinations in correcting the perturbed microbiota in CD patients using advanced in vitro gut models. The outcomes of this research will contribute to an improved understanding of CD pathogenesis and potentially offer a more effective treatment strategy.

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