Gut microbes could offer new therapeutic platform

The bacteria that thrive in our guts could become the key ingredients for a new generation of treatments that fight everything from life-threatening infections to diabetes, obesity, depression and bowel diseases, according to a team of scientists who have experienced some intriguing early successes with transplants.

According to a report in MIT's Technology Review, the scientists were able to cure an infection in a female patient with bacteria transplanted from her husband's gut. Transplanting microbial populations from a healthy person to the sick could transform their entire intestinal system--something that has implications for a broad range of diseases. And it would be a far more radical approach than encouraging people to eat yogurt or take other dietary actions designed to foster healthy microbes.

The researchers have also tested this approach in rats and found that they could make significant changes in their intestinal ecosystems. Significantly, the scientists say they saw no evidence that the rat's body rejected the transplant.  

- here's the story from MIT's Technology Review

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