Drugs that mimic gut bacteria

Small-molecule drugs and biologics that alter the microbiome or its interaction with host tissues are poised to change the face of microbiome therapeutics.

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Although I still spend a lot of my time commissioning and editing Reviews for Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, I've started doing some news writing for them, too. In this article (sorry, it's a couple of months old but still valid!), I write about what I think of as the 'third wave' of microbiome-focussed therapies. First, there was fecal microbial transplantation. Then, there were the live biotherapeutics --which still account for the majority of pharma/biotech activity in the microbiome area -- that aimed to restore particular types of bacteria. But now drug developers are making and testing therapeutics that mimic the beneficial metabolites produced by our gut residents. Really interesting stuff.

Megan Cully

Senior Editor, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery

I'm a senior editor on Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, covering most things micro-related as well as immunology, technology, and sometimes even cancer. I did my PhD at the University of Toronto, Canada with Tak Mak, where I studied PI3K signalling, then moved to what was then called the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK for a post-doctoral fellowship with Julian Downward.