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Scientific Discovery and the Future of Medicine
December 26, 2019

Manipulating the Human Microbiome to Manage Disease

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dermatology Branch, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 2Microbial Genomics Section, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. Published online December 26, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.19602

More than a decade after the launch of the Human Microbiome Project, research in this field has grown exponentially, with studies associating microbial states or species with disorders including novel infectious etiologies and complex human disease. Scientists are searching for the potential utility of the microbiome (the community of bacteria, fungi, and viruses in an environment), with particular focus on manipulating microbial communities as novel therapeutic modalities. This Viewpoint highlights current applications of microbiome science to human health and examines successes and remaining challenges.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Pitt-Ardmore Institute Lifestyle Medicine Research Summit supports authors' approach viz aligning new science and methods for impact
    Michael Parkinson, MD, MPH | University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Health Plan
    The rapid emergence of basic science in epigenetics, microbiome, neuroplasticity and related fields along with the introduction of novel research designs described by the authors and highlighted in the Figure formed the foundation of a recently convened Lifestyle Medicine Research Summit (1) at the University of Pittsburgh with support from the Ardmore Institute of Health.

    As noted by the authors, understanding the core, common cellular pathways of not only diet, but also physical activity, stress, sleep, addiction(s), and social connections creates the opportunity to define a prioritized research agenda for funding agencies, researchers and colleagues. The Summit
    convened 60 national experts in these domains to better understand existing science.

    The Summit summary white paper will outline near- and longer-term research opportunities building on the direction of the authors' commentary.

    1. https://www.ardmoreinstituteofhealth.org/lmrsummit
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Sr Medical Director, Health and Productivity UPMC Health Plan and WorkPartners