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Using Bacteria to Personalize Medicine

Some researchers say that an individual's microbial community can aid physicians in tailoring their efforts to treat illness, reports MIT's Technology Review. Microbiologist Rob Knight of the University of Colorado, whose lab has done extensive work on microbes' effect on weight, says there is evidence to suggest that microbes can be used as markers for individualized treatment. There is growing evidence to suggest that microbes play key roles in metabolism and obesity, and that changes in microbes are linked to diseases like ulcers and heart disease, according to Technology Review's Emily Singer. "Much of the early research using sequencing to study microbes has focused on cataloging the variability between the communities inhabiting different parts of the body, different people, and people with different diseases," Singer says. "But scientists are now starting to examine how specific interventions, such as diet or drugs, alter these communities." The hope is that clinicians can then develop diagnostic tests to predict a patient's response to drugs or even most effective diet options, Singer adds.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.