Washington, Feb 2 : According to a new study, new ways of tackling certain diseases can be provided by creating drugs which change the bugs in people's guts.
Trillions of bugs known as gut microbes live symbiotically in the human gut. They play a key role in many of the processes that take place inside the body.
Different people have different types of gut microbes living inside them and abnormalities in some types have been linked to diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
The researchers said that targeting gut microbes with new drug therapies, rather than concentrating on the mechanisms in the human body could provide an array of uncharted possibilities for fighting disease.
"It's only recently that we've discovered the huge influence that bugs in the gut have on people's health. The exciting thing about this is that it should be easier to create drugs that can change the bugs than it is to re-engineer human cells and signalling pathways inside the body," said Professor Jeremy Nicholson, one of the authors of the Perspective from the Department of Biomolecular Medicine at Imperial College London.
Also, if we're not interfering with the body's pathways, these drugs should have less toxic side-effects," he added.
The study showed that it is possible to alter the makeup of bugs in a mouse's gut, affecting their metabolism, using probiotics.
"We already know that external factors such as altering your diet can change the makeup of the bugs in your gut, so these kinds of therapies will mean a more holistic approach to medicine, looking not just at pharmaceutical treatments but also at lifestyle and nutrition," Nicholson said.
"I think that in ten years' time it will be normal for scientists to take gut bugs into consideration when they are creating new medicines," he added.
The study is published in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.