Unique bacterial biomarkers may help develop diagnostics, treatments for liver cirrhosis
Published on July 26, 2014 at 2:49 AM
ENTEROME Bioscience SA, a pioneer in the development of innovative disease management solutions based on a deep understanding of the gut microbiome, and with a strong focus on liver diseases, highlights the advanced online publication in Nature of a research paper describing the identification of a unique series of bacterial biomarkers that could provide new opportunities for the development of diagnostics and treatments for liver cirrhosis. The research was conducted by an international team of scientists based at leading academic institutions in France, the UK and China, and included Enterome's scientific founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Dusko Ehrlich.
In the publication, the scientists describe how the balance of gut bacteria seen in healthy individuals is altered in patients with liver cirrhosis, an advanced liver disease for which the only treatment is transplantation. In their studies, the team found that the gut environment is invaded by bacteria more commonly found in the mouth. By quantifying and comparing genetic material isolated from faeces of individuals - a process called 'quantitative metagenomic analysis' or 'Metagenotyping®' - the scientists identified a series of 15 distinct bacterial biomarkers that distinguish between healthy individuals and those with liver cirrhosis.
The discovery of this panel of biomarkers presents the opportunity to develop new diagnostics for identifying liver cirrhosis and for monitoring its severity. Furthermore, such biomarkers could be used to develop new treatments, including probiotics (beneficial bacteria) and drugs, which aim to restore the balance in the gut microbiome to limit disease progression or for the prevention of liver cirrhosis in at-risk individuals who may be developing the disease but not yet showing symptoms.
Professor Ehrlich commented: "Our understanding of the role of the human gut microbiome in health and disease is growing exponentially, with changes in the gut microbiome already being strongly implicated in a range of major metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Naturally, this is becoming of increasing interest to the healthcare industry and the accurate identification and quantification of these changes offers huge potential for disease diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. The findings described in this paper are very exciting and add further evidence that a detailed understanding of the microbiome can be a powerful tool across many acute and chronic diseases."