Developed by Chief Scientific Officer Dr. H. Bjørn Nielsen and his team of bioinformatics experts at the Danish contract research organisation, CHAMP has been developed in an aim to eradicate costly false signals in the assessment of microbiome data.
The team says the model has proven its superiority in this sense through rigorous benchmarking experiments, outperforming leading microbiome profiling pipelines.
"With CHAMP, we introduce our next-generation human microbiome profiler," asserts Dr Nielsen. "It’s based on the world’s largest collection of high-quality human microbiome data, encompasses the full microbial diversity across all body sites, and assures profiling with an unmatched accuracy and incredibly low risk of false signals. Correct profiling is the cornerstone of a sound microbiome study – without it, conclusions can easily be misguided.”
CHAMP is said to exhibit a 16% increase in sensitivity across various human body sites compared to MetaPhlAn4, and a 400-fold lower false detection signal.
The scientists have created this superior accuracy through the collection of more than 400,000 Metagenome Assembled Genomes (MAGs) from nine body sites and its ultra sensitive algorithm.
The team, who were behind the metagenomic species (MGS) concept, a state-of-the-art tool when it launched in 2014, felt this new generation tool was required to remove the potential for inaccurate discoveries.
Clinical Microbiomics CEO, Anders Grøn tells NutraIngredients: “There are so many bacteria out there that had never been isolated we were left with more than 40% dark matter, meaning you are left trying to understand what microbes there are and what they do to health and disease with a very limited library of bacteria.
“A lot of products delivered to market are based on that limited understanding of the microbes that are there.
“Bjorn’s approach allowed us to map close to 100% of the microbes that are there.
“Not only can we map more bacteria but we can be more accurate as we have an algorithm that offers the highest specificity, sensitivity and most accurate profiling."
Dr. Nielsen explains that if researchers use "bad profiling" this can lead to the discovery of bacteria that are actually not in the samples. He asserts that a number of high-impact microbiome studies have been criticised for fundamental flaws in their profiling results. For example, a recent report by Gihawi et al. (2023) notes false data resulting from artificial detections of bacteria in tumours.
Grøn adds: “For too many, the emphasis is on how you run your clinical trial and too few have emphasis on what is the data quality that you get out of the trials.”
Discussing the significance of this development to the industry, he adds: “Think abut how much is invested into these clinical trials.
“If samples that comes from these trials are used to understand the microbes and you are getting inaccurate profiles based on false detections, you will be building on the wrong understanding when you go into your next trials, and so on and so forth.
"This can lead to a lot of wasted trials and wasted money and, at the extreme, you could eventually develop therapeutics with a different affect on the consumer than intended.”
Clinical Microbiomics is offering companies and academic institutions the opportunity to re-profile previously collected data in the pursuit of better insights.
“In principle, anyone that has raw data produced from previously clinical studies, whether conducted with us or not, can have their data re-profiled with CHAMP.
“If you can find new insights from previously conducted studies it’s much faster and cheaper than trying to create new studies so that’s a great opportunity for the industry.
“This is the new standard for microbiome analysis so the industry has the opportunity to create a better foundation for everything that follows.”