- by sedlv
- February 27, 2023
Industrial Scale Microbiome Mining is a New Drug Discovery Toolbox
February 23, 2023 | By Ross Youngs – MEDCITY INFLUENCERS, BIOPHARMA
The vast majority of the critically essential secrets in biology are hidden from researchers. The human microbiome is now considered a human organ, yet the word “microbiome” was not in the research lexicon as recently as 20 years ago. Science missed this human organ because the tools to understand the human body are still emerging for science to uncover new secrets. Without genomics technologies, the human microbiome may have gone undiscovered for decades. New groundbreaking tools are rare in research, but one of the newest tools to understand the hidden secrets of biology and human health is the emerging technologies of industrial-scale microbiome mining with potentially a humanity-changing impact.
What is microbiome mining?
Mining the microbiome is discovering new small molecules that are relevant to the signaling in our cells. To quantify the opportunity to uncover critically important biological secrets, there are nearly 250,000 human metabolites listed in the Human Metabolome Data Base (HMDB total), yet only about 150 metabolites have shown a microbial origin (HMDB microbial).
Metabolites are small molecules that are drug-like and interact with other molecules, like proteins most can pass through the blood-brain barrier, penetrate cell walls, and even disrupt DNA. Small molecules make up 90% of the drugs on the shelf. There could be tens of thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands of microbial metabolites to uncover and understand these drug-like small molecules that interact with human biology by turning on, off, up, or down biological activities. These microbial metabolites enter the bloodstream and are responsible for the cascade of chemical activity not directly associated with the microbe but with the interaction in a human.
The microbiome drives most human health activity in combination with genes and lifestyle factors from conception to death and every illness or disease in between. An interesting fact that should be contemplated is that all microbiome genes and metabolic pathways have substantial overlap, and the human microbiome overlaps with the marine microbiome by 73%.