At the Microbiome Congress in May, Kimberly Capone, PhD of Johnson & Johnson detailed some of her recent findings. But first, she put in a plug for JLabs, which J&J describes as providing a capital-efficient, resource-rich environment where emerging companies can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough health care products of tomorrow.
“We have JLabs all across the world, with interests in a lot of areas (including consumer products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices),” she explained. “We are interested in nutrition, digestion, skin conditions, oral care, metabolic and inflammation. We play in a lot of areas.”
And more and more time is being spent in the microbiome arena.
“The microbiome represents an opportunity to impact everything!,” Capone insisted, noting that J&J started working in 2009 on the microbiome, with infant skin. “The microbiome will playa critical role at every point along the wellness spectrum.”
According to Capone, Colonization of infant skin begins at birth with the transmission of maternal microflora. Interestingly, she noted that the gut microbiome diversity develops more slowly in Cesarean births compared to vaginal delivery.
“Of course, microbiome diversity increases with age,” Capone noted. “But in infancy, the microbiome is dominated by Staph and Strep.”
Johnson & Johnson researchers started following babies and microbiome diversity from birth to seven years of age. While Staph and Strep are the primary microbiome bacteria at birth, diet, school and ultimately, puberty, dramatically alter the makeup of the skin microbiome.
“Kids have an evolving ecosystem, but it is resilient,” she noted.
According to Capone, atopic dermatitis is associated with dysbiosis, which is an microbial imbalance. J&J researchers conducted a two-year study to see how regular application of Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream could improve eczema.
In the study, which measured pH, TEWL and skin hydration,16 50-year-olds, including blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians, applied the product regularly. Results were measured at baseline: 1, 7, 14 and 21 days. The formula, she explained, is designed to improve skin after 28 days, but researchers stopped application at 21 days to look at regression.
“We saw significant improvement in pH even at Day 1 and a significant reduction in TEWL and hydration too,” she told Microbiome Congress attendees.
But when the product application was stopped, skin condition started to deteriorate.
Furthermore, 90% of test subjects said that their eczema was healing by Day 3 and continued over time. Researchers found that Aveeno Eczema Therapy Cream improved microbial diversity. J&J found that eczema lesions don’t have a lot of microbial diversity. When they start to diversify, they begin to heal. According to J&J, Aveeno Eczema Therapy Cream helps to balance the microbiome and improves itchy, dry skin.
Now, J&J researchers are looking to see how the skin microbiome improves in relation to intact skin and menopausal skin as well. The goal is to develop formulas that encourage microbiome diversity.