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Surprising Science

A New Era of Bacterial Medicines…

In the years ahead, new techniques which seek to restore the balance of healthy bacteria in the human gut could form the foundation of a fundamentally new kind of medicine. 

What’s the Latest Development?


A fundamentally new kind of medicine is in the works which could treat conditions including obesity, diabetes and even, possibly, autism. Called bacterial medicine, new clinical practices could help augment the symbiotic nature of the trillions of bacteria already swimming in the human body. When imbalances in these bacteria occur, serious health problems can result, but doses of corrective bacteria can return equilibrium to our natural system. Scientists are working to modify current methods of bacterial dosing which are not exactly palatable, i.e. faeces transplants between patients. 

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What’s the Big Idea?

Nathalie Vergnolle of France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research has created genetically engineered bacteria which have been used successfully in mice to treat bowel inflammation. The condition is caused by an imbalance in the gut’s bacteria. If Vergnolle’s treatments are successfully transfered to humans, “they may open avenues for the bacterial treatment of other conditions linked to gut bacteria. These conditions include obesity, diabetes and even, possibly, autism. A new era of bacterial medicine could thus be about to dawn.”

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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