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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

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.