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A joint partnership of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and St. Joseph's, Philadelphia's Jesuit University

What are Nutraceuticals?

What is the market interest in Nutraceuticals?

What is the Nutraceuticals Institute, its Mission, its Objectives, and its Dimensions?

Overview of the NI Rationale

Functional Dimensions of Core Projects

Contacts for more information

What are Nutraceuticals?

Nutraceuticals (often referred to as phytochemicals or functional foods) are natural, bioactive chemical compounds that have health promoting, disease preventing or medicinal properties.

What is the market interest in Nutraceuticals?

Consumers are deeply concerned about how their health care is managed, administered and priced. They are frustrated with the expensive, high-tech, disease-treatment approach predominant in modern medicine. The consumer is seeking complementary or alternative beneficial products.

Nutraceuticals are found in a mosaic of products emerging from (a) the food industry, (B) the herbal and dietary supplement market, © the pharmaceutical industry, and (d) the newly merged pharmaceutical/agribusiness/nutrition conglomerates.

What is the Nutraceuticals Institute? Its Mission? Its Objectives? Its Dimensions?

The Nutraceuticals Institute (NI) is a research, education and outreach program formed through the partnership of Rutgers University (RU) and St. Joseph's University (SJU).

The mission of the NI is to provide a systematic problem-solving approach in which universities, government and industry partner to: perform the scientific research underpinning the initiative; develop safe and efficacious products; standardize quality assurance measures; transfer the technologies developed through research to industry; inform policy decisions; link with the health care industry and develop markets.

The NI effort is subdivided into seven critical and integrated dimensions coordinated in an interrelated system (see figure on cover). Dimensions providing scientific underpinning are Value-added Commodity Optimization, Phytochemical Fingerprinting, Safety and Efficacy Bioassays; Process Engineering; and Clinical Studies/Trials Optimization, all of which contribute to optimized and standardized products. Dimensions enhancing the economic context are Global Market Demand and Policy Research.

Engineering; and Clinical Studies/Trials Optimization, all of which contribute to optimized and standardized products. Dimensions enhancing the economic context are Global Market Demand and Policy Research.

A principal goal of the NI is the provision of scientific knowledge and related credibility to the growing industry. The strategy of NI is a systems approach.

Stakeholder involvement is central to the evolution of the NI (see figure above). Therefore, the NI must elicit input from multiple diverse stakeholders.

Overview of the NI Rationale

The marketing of various prototypical nutraceuticals is vastly ahead of the scientific basis required to assure quality, safety, efficacy, mode of action, and thus ethical value to the consumer, and industry credibility. Standardization and correlated added value is the unifying theme.

Functional Dimensions of Core Projects Value Added Commodity Optimization: Nutraceutical Varieties and Good Agricultural Practices (RU) The objective of this core effort is to (a) develop varieties that have been modified or developed for nutraceutical content or activity through breeding or biotechnology; (B) establish Good Agricultural Practices developed specifically for the enhancement and standardization of nutraceutical components in crops, © incorporate phytochemical exploration of the multiple related varieties to prioritize nutraceutical potential; and (d) conduct, molecular, biotechnology and plant breeding research to optimize concentration or activity of key nutraceutical compounds.

Phytochemical Fingerprinting: Chemical and Immunobiological (RU) The core effort uncovers, analyzes and defines the phytochemical fingerprint or profile of plants used as nutraceuticals.

Chemical- and bio-fingerprinting assays are developed and utilized to screen hundreds of plant samples and thus quickly select varieties; screen in-coming (domestic and imported) parts of plants and out-going (freshly harvested) products for appropriate levels of compounds; for determination of when is the best time to harvest the plants; and how best to store the plants to maintain quality of the product. In addition, the ability to screen rapidly hundreds of samples in the field and during processing is critical for maintaining good quality control of the product.

Bioassays for Safety and Efficacy (RU) Development of cell-line screens (cyto-bioassays) for nutraceuticals has a dual objective: (a) to evaluate the safety of the test compound and (B) to measure efficacy of nutraceutical compounds at various doses. In the future, protocols for nutraceutical health need to depend more heavily upon in vitro studies. There is a pressing need to develop and utilize generic cytobioassays to replace several classical toxicological animal studies.

Process Engineering (RU)

(a) Process Engineering. Define the screening criteria for each class of incoming materials, leading to the definition of the engineering process control parameters for manufacturing, (B) Product Delivery System. Maintain the efficacy of the nutraceutical product through the distribution channels. The product delivery systems intelligence flow details the materials, packaging structure and controlled/modified product environments necessary to maintain efficacy for each nutraceutical product class while allowing traceability throughout distribution.

Clinical Studies and Trials Optimization (RU)

The greatest scientific need in nutraceuticals pertains to standardization of compounds and/or products, and to carefully develop and execute clinical studies/trials to provide the basis for health claims for nutraceuticals that impact consumers as well as companies making strategic investments.

Market Demand (SJU)

Harmonizing health claim approval via an international Clearinghouse of health claim information. The objective is to demystify regulatory pathways and health claim approval processes, thus offering economics of scale and telescoping time to global markets. Initial project is to establish an international health claims clearinghouse.

Policy Research - (SJU)

Establishing nutraceutical cost-effectiveness via model outcomes assessment to encourage and facilitate the testing of nutraceuticals for the marketplace. Clinical outcomes with cost data are modeled to determine the benefits to individual, health care delivery system and society in general. Initial project is to determine nutraceutical outcomes and cost-effectiveness in delivery of medical care.

Focal Point in Camden Area

The focal point location of the Nutraceuticals Institute is in Camden. This location is in proximity to the faculty of the Rutgers Biology and Chemistry Departments, the agricultural area of South Jersey, the NJAES field stations, the greenhouse of the Rutgers EcoComplex in Burlington County, the clinical units in Camden and Philadelphia, the Center for Food Marketing of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, as well as other related not-for-profit and industrial units. The City and County governments of Camden have expressed their approbations of the potential contribution to community enhancement.

For more information contact:

Paul A. Lachance, Ph.D.

Executive Director, The Nutraceuticals Institute

Department of Food Science

Cook College, Rutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520

Phone: (732) 932-9611 x243

FAX: (732) 932-6776

E-Mail: Lachance@aesop.rutgers.edu

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