New Poster: Next-generation approaches to assess the safety of oral and skin human microbiome reprofiling

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Bacterial DNA sequencing data generated in recent years have shown that the microbiome profile associated with health differs from that observed during disease states. Although what constitutes a healthy oral and skin microbiota is still not well defined, there is ever-increasing understanding of the organisms naturally present in both body niches.

Microbiome research is in its early stages and the microbial dynamics involved in the progression from health to disease are not yet elucidated. Future research aiming to study interactions between microbial species and the host will help to interpret changes in the microbiome, ultimately revealing the mechanistic basis of the microbiome’ influence on health. Until further knowledge is developed, we propose a tiered framework to evaluate the safety of microbiome reprofiling. The framework describes different approaches that progress in complexity to align with current and future scientific understanding. The `short-term’ approaches build on the assumption that technologies with a history of safe use or temporal perturbations from which the microbiome can revert to the original state within a reasonable amount of time should not present a major concern. However, this approach may not be suitable to evaluate new technologies. The `long-term’ approaches aim to understand the impact a change may have on the overall functionality of the microbiome and the likelihood of that change causing a health concern.

The proposed safety approaches are under development and remain flexible to include future characterisation of the microbial dynamics. This framework will help to assess changes in the human microbiome to provide consumers with innovative and safe personal care products.

This poster was presented at the 6th Exploring Human Host-Microbiome Interactions in Health and Disease meeting, 13-15 September 2017.

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