PerspectiveMedicine

Modulating gut microbes

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Science  11 Sep 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6509, pp. 1302-1303
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc3965

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Summary

There are hundreds of trillions of microbes within the human body, which have a profound impact on modulating host function. Many of these microbes reside in the gastrointestinal tract and have been shown to influence normal physiology across all body systems (1). Disruptions in the delicate balance of microbes within the gut and other niches are associated with numerous disease states—including neurologic disorders, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer (2). Accordingly, there is intense interest in targeting these microbes to promote overall health and to abrogate disease, with considerable advances made recently. Strategies to modulate gut microbes include fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), which involves the transfer of fecal material from one individual to another for a desired physiologic effect. This approach, among other gut microbiota modulation strategies, has shown promise in treating several disease conditions, although opportunities exist to iterate and build on these approaches.

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