Human Microbiome Paving Way for Personalized Medicine and Diagnostic Tools

Every human body has complex system of useful bacteria dwelling within it, and that system is called human microbiome. It is a community of microbes living within our body. Our microbiome is known as our genetic footprint, which can tell how our body reacts to the environment around us. Each microbiome is unique and thus makes each individual respond differently to what they eat, where they live, and how they respond to various diseases.

It is believed that human microbiome can change how diseases are diagnosed and treated. Understanding microbiome is a first step toward developing personalized medicine and commercializing them. After the human genome project, this presents an opportunity to develop precise diagnosis for each body.

How Microbiomes Affect What and How We Eat

Since the largest community of microbes lives in our digestive system, pharmaceuticals and food companies are focusing on learning more about how these microbes functions and respond to different stimuli.

According to a research conducted in Weizmann Institute of Science, it was studied that humans respond to food differently depending on the complex system of microbes present within their gut system. The study further revealed that there is no food on this planet that has same effects on different individuals, which is why nutritionists and food companies are focusing on customized nutrition requirements and personalizing their products as per a customer’s individual needs.

Food companies and nutritionists believe that there is no way of figuring out the absolute definition of “healthy” for masses. With a complex microbe structure, they are focusing on microbiome profiling to segment their target markets.

Diagnostics Using the Microbiome

Human microbiome can indicate what is going inside a human body. Each community of microbiome is affected by differently levels of carbon and nitrogen, moisture level, temperature in each individual. This makes it quite possible to monitor human microbiome to understand different stages of diseases and how they would react to different treatments. There are many biotechnology companies and life sciences, which are currently working on this idea to create diagnostic tools for screening and assessment.

Metabiomic, being an active contributor in the field of curing cancer, is working on a diagnostic device that would examine human stool, test on gut microbes present in it, and identify early stages of gut cancer and colon polyps. They are using their patented DNA sequencing technology called MultiTag™, which screens the microbiome.

Healthcare companies are focusing on developing personalized medicine. It gives the pharmaceutical companies an opportunity to develop medicines according to unique structure of each human biome. Microbiome research is proving to be an effective way to prevent diseases and manage them.

In diagnostic field, Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) is a groundbreaking procedure where fecal matter is taken from the patient to treat diseases associated with gut system. During this process, bad bacteria in the stool are replaced by good bacteria to treat intestinal conditions, autoimmune diseases, Crohn’s disease and IBS. Biotech companies are working to create therapies based on micro biotic structures of a human body, among which, one is Rebiotix, which is in process of making FMT commercialized by the use of fecal microbes to create products that will deliver good bacteria in human gut to treat certain diseases.

Diagnostics and therapeutic procedures are two areas where microbiome research can be applied. Recently, Enterome and Nestlé Health Science have joined hands to form Microbiome Diagnostics Partners (MDP). Their first program will focus on MET210 biomarker as a diagnostic tool for liver diseases.