11th february 2009

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The University of Lleida launches the first teaching and research centre in nutrigenomics in Spain
. The Nutren Centre offers international experts and leading technology to companies working in the areas of agri-food, pharmaceutics, healthcare and cosmetics

Centre Nutren (nutrigenòmica) de la Universitat de Lleida [+] AMPLIAR IMATGE The metabolomics platform is part of the equipment at the Nutren Centre
The Faculty of Medicine at UdL hosts the first centre in Spain to gather teaching, research and technology transfer in the field of nutrigenomics. The Nutren Centre is part of the Catalan Government’s Technological Innovation Network and specialises in the role of nutrition in biological and pathological processes related to ageing and oxide-induced cellular stress, as well as in functional nutrition development. Nutren’s international experts in metabolism and leading technology offer services to companies in the areas of agri-food, pharmaceutics, healthcare and cosmetics.

The centre’s multidisciplinary team is formed by around twenty experts in medicine, biology, chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, agronomy, nutrition and biotechnology. Under the supervision of Dr. Manuel Portero, Dr. Reinald Pamplona and Dr. David de Lorenzo, Nutren works on several research areas such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Different experimentation models and an exclusive system of metabolic analysis in Spain examine 10,000 different molecular particles (toxins, vitamins, contaminants, etc.) from small samples of blood or other genetic tissues.

Nutren works on several research areas such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Apart from basic research, this UdL-affiliated centre designs, evaluates and improves the functional properties of food, ingredients, nutrients and additives, allowing for practical applications such as studies on the health benefits of food, food digestibility or support in validation of functional food claims. As regards this research line, Nutren is already undertaking research for companies like Leche Pascual or Shirota Functional Foods. As Dr. Portero explained, "multinational companies commission most of the validation of functional claims, and we’d like to assist many companies in Catalonia that cannot afford that cost.".

. Pioneering personalised studies

Nutren attempts at becoming a European reference as regards research and development in the field of Molecular Nutrition as applied to ageing. One of its short-term objectives is offering personalised tests to individuals through combining genetic and metabolic studies. As Dr. David de Lorenzo stated, “it is a pioneering initiative in the world”. This service will be introduced during the second half of 2009 with prices oscillating between 300 and 1,500 Euros, according to the aspects to be analysed.

Dr de Lorenzo also highlighted the beginning of a pilot study in nutrigenomics based on compound derivatives of soy that will take genetic variables into account.




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