Scientists have created a systematic way to evaluate how the microbial community in our gut influences drug behavior. Findings were published in the journal Cell and describes for the first time how the evaluation of intestinal health can be done all at once.
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"Basically, we do not run and hide from the complexity of the microbiome, but instead, we embrace it," said Mohamed S. Donia, assistant professor of molecular biology. "This approach allows us to gain a holistic and more realistic view of the microbiome's contribution to drug metabolism."
Researchers used their framework to evaluate the gut microbiome’s relation to hundreds of commonly prescribed medications on the market.
"This inter-person variability underscores why studying a single bacterial species makes it impossible to compare the microbiome's metabolism of drugs between individuals," Donia said. "We need to study the entire intestinal microbial community."
"Everyone's microbiome is unique, and we were able to see this in our study," said Bahar Javdan, an M.D.-Ph.D. student in molecular biology and a co-first author on the study. "We observed three main categories -- drugs that were consistently metabolized by all the microbiomes in our study, drugs that were metabolized by some and not by others, and drugs that were not subject to any microbiome-derived metabolism."