Getting Rid of the Guesswork
Forewarned is forearmed. A new software tool – MDSINE – predicts how a simplified mouse microbiome reacts to probiotic intervention. Next? The human microbiome
William Aryitey |
At a Glance
- An imbalance of microbiomes can have serious health implications
- Probiotic therapy has great potentail, but predicting how an individual’s microbiome will react to them is difficult
- Pathologist Georg Gerber and his team have developed an algorithm-based tool that can forecast microbial reactions to interventions to aid research into therapeutic avenues
- MDSINE, which is open source, has been validated in mice; Gerber plans to apply it to human data in the near future
An imbalance in the microbiome – the micro-organisms living on and in the body – can have serious health implications. Reintroducing “healthy” bacteria (probiotics) to bring the microbiome back onto an even keel has great potential, but it can be hard to predict how a patient’s individual microbiota will react. Now, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and the University of Massachusetts have created a new tool to help develop better bacteriotherapies. The Microbial Dynamical Systems INference Engine (MDSINE – pronounced M-Design) is a suite of computer algorithms that can forecast microbial behavior in complex ecosystems like the mammalian gut (1).
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