KRF-UTHealth Center for Microbiome Research

KRF-UTHealth Center for Microbiome Research

We live in spectacular times. Because of advances in microbial detection over the past 8 years the second body genome has been identified through the NIH sponsored human microbiome initiative. The 100 trillion intestinal bacteria that live in our GI tract, which possess more DNA and cells than seen in our body are a hidden factory producing chemicals that circulate in our blood effect the brain and body metabolism.   An unhealthy Western diet and high usage of unnecessary antibiotics has created a medical condition known as “dysbiosis”, or abnormal microbial patterns in the intestine.   Millions of Americans are impacted by dysbiosis, which researchers have linked to diseases and disorders such as chronic gastrointestinal disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Clostridium difficile infection (C-Diff), chronic neurologic disorders like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis and even obesity.

Kelsey Research Foundation researchers hypothesize that restoring the balance and diversity of the tiny microbes within us holds the power and possibility of preventing, treating and improving the symptoms of these diseases.  The process of restoring good gut bacteria is called Fecal Microbiota Transplantation, or FMT, and researchers at the KRF-UTHealth Center for Microbiome Research, in partnership with UTHealth School of Public Health and McGovern Medical School, have embarked on an ambitious line of research aimed at treating and improving individuals who are impacted by these diseases through FMT.  Researchers here were among the first in the country to offer FMT to patients suffering from a fatal bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile, or C.Diff.  200 patients with recurrent C.Diff have been treated through FMT with a 90% cure rate after the first treatment and 100% after the second. Because of this success, beginning in Fall 2018, the Center for Microbiome Research is launching FMT clinical trials in other major diseases, the first of which is Parkinson’s.

At the heart of the Microbiome Center is the concept of research that is both translational, taking basic science to the bedside and also transformational, leading medicine away from expensive, complex and toxic drugs to inexpensive natural methods to produce health that could be cost effective for all, including underserved and developing countries. This approach deals with restoration of body health from the inside out providing the body what is lacking. The Microbiome Center focuses on a high science-low tech approach to promoting intestinal health with broad applications.

History of the Center for Microbiome Research

Prior to the formation of the Center for Microbiome Research in 2014, the Kelsey Research Foundation established the David N. Scoular Digestive Disease Program, named for David Scoular, a distinguished member of the KRF’s Board of Directors and for many years served as President and Chairman. His commitment to excellence and devotion to our mission to improve the quality of patient care and health outcomes earned him a place of honor in the Houston community.

From 2010-2014, the Center served as the beginning of the collaboration between KRF and UT Health-School of Public Health and McGovern Medical School, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston - School of Pharmacy and physicians at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.  We are proud to honor the work of David Scoular through the creation of the KRF-UTHealth Center for Microbiome Research.