Monday, February 21, 2022

The IMDEA Food Institute is working to implement the iNutriSI-ON project that proposes to develop Precision Nutrition strategies implemented through the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence. These strategies aim to reactivate the Immune System, which can be deteriorated due to age, obesity, or chemotherapy.

iNutriSI-ON is an interdisciplinary project that combines molecular biology, immunology, nutrition and artificial intelligence to improve the immune system through a Precision Nutrition approach. These strategies will play a protective and immune-modulating role in counteracting the immune system deterioration, preventing infections and promoting quality of life in vulnerable populations.

Artificial Intelligence offers the opportunity to develop tools for modelling nutritional and molecular knowledge, together with users' habits, to effectively implement Precision Nutritional strategies to promote population health through personalised nutrition.

iNutriSI-ON will identify and implement precision nutritional strategies to delay or reverse the decline of the adaptive immune system due to ageing, chemotherapeutic agents or obesity.

In the first phase, biomarkers of immune system ageing will be identified. This process is called immunosenescence, which refers to the gradual deterioration of the immune system caused by natural ageing and exposure to chemotherapeutic agents, obesity, or chronic persistent infections.

In the second phase, the project will develop targeted nutritional strategies and formulations with geroprotective activity against immune decline. These strategies aim to regulate alterations that occur in T-cells to identify and eliminate infectious agents or infected cells. 

In a third phase, the efficacy of the Precision Nutritional strategies and the selected products as geroprotective agents will be validated through clinical trials aimed at three population groups through IMDEA Alimentación's GENYAL platform for clinical trials in nutrition and health. The GENYAL platform is led by Ana Ramírez de Molina, scientific director of the centre, and has a cohort of more than 2500 volunteers, including young people, the elderly and overweight and obese volunteers.

The medical oncology service of the Infanta Sofia University Hospital, led by Enrique Casado, will also participate in the validation phase through a cohort of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Finally, Personalised Nutritional models will be developed and follow-up by Artificial Intelligence using Multimodal Machine Learning to personalise treatment and evaluate their usefulness in nutritional follow-up and integration of participant data. It will allow achieving more effective personalised solutions to prevent immune system deterioration.

Age-related immune system decline is responsible for increased susceptibility to infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases, and decreased vaccine efficacy.

In addition to age, several environmental factors compromise immune system function. Exposure to chemotherapy, chronic infections or a high-fat diet plays a predominant role among these factors. Thus, the elderly, the obese and cancer patients become highly vulnerable to the development of infectious diseases, as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.