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April 16, 2008
LOS ANGELES—More than 200 academics, industry marketers and journalists from around the globe gathered at the Beverly Hilton April 11 and 12 for the first International Probiotics Association (IPA) World Congress. The two-day event featured leading researchers in the area of probiotics, as well as clinicians and regulatory experts, all of whom examined the growing potential for probiotics.
“The first IPA Congress has been a great success,” said S.K. Dash, Ph.D., the newly-elected vice president of the IPA, and founder of UAS Laboratories. “IPA invites all interested companies and individuals to join IPA and help raise awareness of probiotics.”
The first day of the Congress was primarily targeted toward the probiotic industry, including manufacturers, brand marketers and consultants, and covered issues including production technologies, formulation techniques, the international regulatory environment, and emerging areas of probiotic research. Speakers included Greg Leyer, Ph.D., Danisco USA, addressing formulation of probiotic dietary supplements and issues such as viability and new applications; Robert Hutkins, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, on the metabolic role of probiotics and interaction with prebiotics; Crystal McDade-Ngutter, Ph.D., NIH, regarding federal funding of probiotic research; and a keynote address by Justin Sonneburg, Ph.D., Washington University, about the impact of probiotics on genetic expression and the possible metabolic impact on conditions such as obesity.
On the second day, the focus turned toward the possible applications of probiotics in clinical settings, including the safety of such products and their role in addressing different health concerns. Among the speakers were Sherwood Gorbach, M.D., Tufts University, offering a clinician’s perspective on the safety and usefulness of probiotics in practice; Richard Fedorak, M.D., University of Alberta, on the efficacy of probiotics in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and possible mechanisms of action; and Lynne McFarland, M.D., about the possible role of probiotics in reducing antibiotic-associated diarrhea and incidence of C. difficile infection in health care settings.
Participants also had the chance to network at a Friday evening reception, and take in poster presentations. During the event, IPA also elected new officers, including Dash as vice president and Scott Bush, Danisco, as president. According to IPA, the organization plans to hold its next World Congress in 2010, with the location and date to be announced later.
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