The Gonchorovsky Family Microbiome Research Center
In recent years, we have come to understand the full meaning of the sentence "no man is an island" - a person is never alone, because billions of bacteria live inside him and their lives are intertwined. In effect, our body is a fertile habitat for countless microscopic creatures that together constitute a complex ecosystem that lives on and in it. This complex system is called the "human microbiota" and is an integral part of us. This system consists of billions of cells (about 100 billion!) These include bacteria, viruses and fungi, which populate all inner cavities of our bodies and which are exposed to the outer environment, including the airways, mouth, stomach, intestines, urinary system, reproductive systems and skin.
The microorganisms and their genetic material are together referred to as the "microbiome", and maintain a symbiotic relationship with us that affect our development and health, even our behavior. The majority of these microorganisms are bacteria living in our gastrointestinal tracts. Studies that have been conducted in recent years using novel gene sequencing technologies reveal the interrelations between our intestinal bacteria and their vital function in a range of metabolic processes, in the maturity of the immune system and protection against pathogens.
The vision of the Microbiome Research Center:
Our main goal, as Prof. Ilan Youngster, the departments, director, sees it, is "mapping of the relationship between changes in the intestinal microbiome composition in different states of health and illness. Obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, infections and neurological disorders are a number of examples of diseases related to imbalance in intestinal bacteria. Therefore, with the help of a change in the intestinal bacterial composition by fecal transplantation, we hope to improve the quality of life of patients and possibly cure these diseases".
At the Microbiome Research Center at Shamir Medical Center (Assaf Harofeh), we operate in a number of planes:
- Fecal transplantation treatments– this treatment is intended for patients with recurrent clostridium difficile infections that do not respond to antibiotic therapy. Fecal transplantation is done by taking capsules of intestinal bacteria that we produce at our laboratory, by infusion into the gastrointestinal tract or by enema.
- Clinical research- for examining fecal transplantation treatment for future medical indications.
- Development of diagnostic tools for various medical conditions- by analyzing the microorganism populations in the intestine and in combination with clinical and demographic parameters.