Almost 100 studies on a revolutionary approach to developing new medicines and treatments to target both the human and non-human components of people is reviewed in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research.
Liping Zhao, Jeremy K. Nicholson and colleagues explain that human beings have been called “superorganisms” because their bodies contain 10 percent human cells and 90 percent microbes, which live mainly in the intestines.
Scientists thus are viewing people as vast ecosystems in which human, bacterial, fungal and other cells interact with each another.
Microbes, for instance, release substances that determine whether human genes turn on or off and influence the immune system’s defenses against disease. And populations of microbes in the body change with changes in diet, medications and other factors.
“This superorganism view of the human body provides a complete new systems concept for managing human health at the clinically relevant whole body level,” say the authors. They term it “one of the most significant paradigm shifts in modern medicine.”