Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

Human milk inspired oligosaccharides for allergy prevention

Pre-clinical assessment of efficacy and effect mechanisms of human milk inspired oligosaccharides in prevention of food allergy and asthma (HMOSforALL)

In this project, researchers from the division of Pharmacology of the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS) at the Utrecht University, will combine expertise with scientists from Nutricia Research B.V. to deliver proof of concept for the use of novel human milk inspired oligosaccharides for early life allergy prevention.

Nowadays 10-25% of the western population is affected with allergic diseases like food allergy and/or allergic asthma. Food allergy is one of the first allergies to arise early in life, affecting 6-8% of infants and 1-2% of adults. Furthermore, it predisposes children to develop other allergies such as allergic asthma. Globally 300 million people suffer from asthma and depending on the country 5-30% of infants are affected and most adult asthma develops in childhood. Currently there is no medicine for food allergy, and asthma treatment relieves the symptoms but does not cure this chronic disease. Therefore, early life allergy prevention is of utmost importance.

Human milk contains a large variety of non-digestible oligosaccharides (HMOS) known to support microbiota development and immune function, which may reduce the infants risk of developing allergy. Novel HMOS inspired synthetic non-digestible oligosaccharides (sHMOS) are being manufactured. In this project, the immunomodulatory effects of these novel sHMOS will be determined in in vitroco-culture models of human intestinal or airway epithelial cells with immune cells. Next, in vitroselected sHMOS will be studied for their efficacy in allergy prevention in pre-clinical models for food allergy and allergic asthma and underlying mechanisms of action will be revealed. 

These studies will provide insight in the biologic properties of these sHMOS for allergy prevention and indicate which sHMOS may be applicable for clinical testing aiming to benefit the health of formula fed infants and to further reduce early life allergy risk.