The overall strategy of the work plan is to build a large collaborate research effort integrating animal and human studies such that the common results obtained will deliver new, robust biomarkers to support health claims.
In defining a strategy to develop new biomarkers of health, it is essential to consider that health promoting food components act in maintaining a healthy physiology, thus preventing or retarding deterioration (either processes that initiate a disease state or a loss of physiological or mental function) or even optimizing functioning. Biochemical and physiological mechanisms take care of maintaining health in a constantly changing and challenging environment. In healthy conditions, the mechanisms that maintain homeostasis efficiently absorb challenges and thus provide robustness but, in many cases, biomarkers for a less effective maintenance of function in adulthood or the elderly life are not evident in earlier stages.
BIOCLAIMS strategy for scientific sustantiation of health claims
The general strategy will be to compare two conditions, one (full health), that is leading to the maintenance of a given health function for a longer period, and the other (at risk) that is expected (due to pre-imposed genetic or acquired alterations) to lead to a shorter period of health functioning. To reveal homeostatic differences in an early stage, before clear health differences are visible, a challenge (stress) will be applied. Then, robustness of the system will be used as a predictor for later differences in health.
Animals and human models will be used to identify biomarkers that will then be further validated and extended in a highly integrative manner, where the markers discovered in one model will be assessed in the other models and under other conditions. It pursues a high level of integration of animal studies and human studies on one hand and between intervention studies in both animals and humans and analytical work on the other. The BIOCLAIMS project has been designed as concerted effort of all members of the consortium and will be implemented as one study.