Study could aid cutting edge treatment

(Evening Echo 21.11.17)

Cork people are playing a role in groundbreaking food studies, as Kelly Seamans PhD, Science Offer with Cork based Atlantia Food Clinical Trials, explains

Have you ever wondered how the world’s largest food companies can state that their dairy products 

can “lower cholesterol levels”, how certain yoghurts can help in weight loss, or how fish protein supplements can reduce aching joints? If you have, then our work at Altlantia Food Clinical Trials Ltd, will interest you. We are a contract research organisation that supports a world wide client base from our Cork HQ. We undertake Food Studies that explore whether or not claims made by companies regard to the health benefits of foodstuffs or health supplements accurate.

Our Capabilities cover the spectrum of functional food and beverage categories, such as dairy, probiotic, protein, infant specific foods, vitamins/minerals and medical foods.

Studies that we design can be conducted on new or existing products that companies need to test in terms of their effectiveness in the body. These studies may also show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses.

Of course, the only way to test for the effectiveness and tolerance is with the help of food study participants and we are fortunate to have such a willing group throughout the region. We thank the people of Cork for their tremendous support, through their participation, genuine interest and engagement, we are able to play our part in influencing access to better functional foods and health products across the global markets. That’s something we are really proud of and it motivates us every day,

Each study is different and has full protocol documentation, so the criteria to qualify is always the first step. Typically, this relates to age range, gender, well being, BMI, predisposition to certain symptoms etc. Studies last for varying periods with interim visits to assess progress. Some individuals might not qualify for their first preference but our updates on upcoming studies keep them informed of new and possibly better suited options.

During and after studies, volunteers are carefully monitored by our highly qualified and experiences medical team to ensure their ongoing safety and well-being.

Since 2012, when we became commercially independent having outgrown our UCC base, our client portfolio has increased to include the world’s largest food companies. We serve the healthcare and food industry world wide offering the highest levels of science and service, which involves every element of study design, analysis, regulatory approval and food study group recruitment.

We operate to the ICH – GCP Standard (the standard used for pharmaceutical drug studies) and we work in accordance within EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) guidelines on scientific requirements for assessing health claim validation.

Our study participants come from all walks on life with varying levels of fitness and health. We typically conduct research in Gastrointestinal, Mental & Cognitive, Cardiovascular, Healthy Aging, Nutritional, Immune & Inflammatory Health areas as well as Sports Performance.

Studies for specific conditions are supervised by medical consultants with advanced or specialist knowledge of the condition. We are very fortunate to work with some of Europe’s and Irelands’ leading scientists, across partner institutions including the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork, Teagasc Moorepark, Cork University Hospital, Mallow Primary Healthcare Centre and numerous healthcare facilities.

Right now, we need knees! We are actively looking for interested individuals who suffer from knee pain, as our research is focused on the impact of a fruit extract on alleviating pain symptoms. The knee pain we need is typically experienced by osteoarthritis sufferers. In Ireland over 30% of all GP visits in Ireland relate to arthritic conditions – so finding ways to alleviate pain for sufferers is crucial. If this study is successful, participants and other suffers in Ireland could end up benefiting from cutting edge treatment.

While there has been a significant amount of research conducted, a lot has yet to be discovered by medical professionals around effective and long term treatment. Many people could actually be suffering in silence so, we hope to encourage a further 120 to connect with us and get this important study underway.

We also have upcoming studies on iron deficiency, dyspepsia, high cholesterol and healthy athletes so there’s something for everyone!

We are planning to undertake two Open Day events once our move from Blackrock to our new HQ location at Heron House in Blackpool Retail Park is complete, but for those that wish to learn more about the studies or are interested in our community initiatives where we attend group meetings to conduct health checks and speak of the value of good nutrition and exercise, Atlantia would be delighted to hear from you.