Tuning in to Perfect Harmony
When it comes to human health, we know that genetics is a key factor, as is the environment. We also recognize the importance of the decisions we make – consider the drivers of diabetes and heart disease. But are we as in control as we think we are? Here, we explore the pivotal role of the microbiome.
Maryam Mahdi | | Longer Read
Microbiome research has not only captured the excitement of the scientific community, but also the general public, who are intrigued by the health impact of the trillions of bacteria that inhabit the various ecological niches of our bodies. Though the microbiome field initially focused on the role of gut bacteria on the onset and progression of C. difficile infection, a wealth of data proving the role of these bacteria in disease indications as varied as Parkinson’s and diabetes has begun to emerge; what was once thought of as a disease of the brain may actually be a disease of the gut...
A number of pharma, biotech and start-up companies are now keen to exploit the growing body of knowledge to develop drugs that target the microbiome directly or work in synergy with it to elicit a therapeutic effect – through live bacterial formulations, medical foods, or traditional small molecules. And it may be possible to manipulate the efficacy or side-effect profile of existing medicines by targeting the microbiome. What sets microbiome research apart from other areas of drug R&D is its newness. Companies have the freedom to evaluate and explore the diverse bacterial communities of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract using individual approaches because there is no “right way” of conducting research in this industry.
Here, I speak with passionate microbiome experts who represent just a snapshot of an exciting research community that could transform medicine and drug discovery.
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