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Drugs From and For the Depth of the Gut

Disturbances of the gut microbiome have been linked to a range of conditions, including gastrointestinal problems as well as immunological, metabolic, and neurological disorders and that, Technology Review reports, is why some companies are plumbing microbiome for drug ideas.

For instance, it notes that six-year-old Seres has two drugs in clinical trials — one for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection and one for ulcerative colitis — that are based off certain 'keystone' gut microbes that the company says can help restore the microbiome to how it should be.

Meanwhile, Synlogic is taking a different tack and is developing modified bacteria containing genetic switches that could be introduced into the gut microbiome to perform therapeutic functions, such as removing the byproducts of a metabolic disorder, Tech Review adds.

James Collins, a biological engineering at MIT and scientific cofounder of Synlogic and advisor to Seres, tells Tech Review that being able to change the microbiome "has tremendous potential."