Personalised nutrition: An integrated analysis of opportunities and challenges.
The consortium aims to show the added value of personalized nutrition and brings together a multi-disciplinary team in the fields of biological sciences, consumer studies, marketing, business development, IT and technology, ethical and legal industry, and communication. TNO is active in the workpackage 'Technology for personalized nutrition'. The project is coordinated by Prof. Mike Gibney (the Institute of Food and Health, University College Dublin, Ireland). The project, consisting of 25 partners from 12 European countries, started in April 2011 and runs for 4 years.
The complete mapping of the human genome sequence in 2000 introduced the possibility of individualised medicine and personalised nutrition. Many were hopeful about the ability to plan diet recommendations based on an individual's genetic and/or metabolic profile. However matching dietary advice to genetic profiles has proven difficult.
There is a need to comprehensively analyse the opportunities and challenges in the field of personalised nutrition. In addition, the fundamental question remains, "how can we best use our current understanding of food, genes, and physical traits to design healthier diets tailored for each individual?" To address these concerns, Food4Me has gathered an international group of experts to survey the current knowledge of personalised nutrition, and to explore the application of individualised nutrition advice. The Food4Me project will also investigate consumer attitudes and produce new scientific tools for implementation.
By conducting a Proof-of-Principle study with >1000 subjects, the consortium will deliver information on best practice in the application of all aspects of nutrigenomic research to personalised nutrition, scope out existing and future technologies and develop position papers on the ethical and legal aspects of personalised nutrition.
TNO's activities focus on the establishment of a global personalized nutrition knowledge base (including biomarkers and nutrigenetics expertise) that will be validated by experts in the field and that will preserve data and information collected in the consortium for new studies or commercial potential. In addition, TNO will use the data collected in the Proof-of-Principle study to develop algorithms for personalised nutrition. These algorithms help to integrate the individual information of subjects in a general nutrition plan, instead of the currently most used decision trees were only one measured parameter defines the intake of one dietary compound.