The host of microorganisms inhabiting the human body, or microbiome, plays essential roles in both health and the pathogenesis and resolution of disease. Symbioses between humans and the microbiome influence broad aspects of human biology including nutrition, immune function, and even brain development. Altered microbial community profiles are associated with a variety of chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergic conditions, obesity, and psychiatric and neurological disorders. The microbiome influences therapeutic interventions: metabolism of drugs by both intestinal bacteria and enterocytes, leading to systemic absorption may provide valuable insights into pre-systemic drug metabolism, delivery, and toxicity. A better understanding of the metabolic pathways may aid in drug development and toxicity evaluation processes. The microbiome itself may be a target of, or tool for new therapeutic strategies for diseases as diverse as irritable bowel syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease. This symposium reviews the basic biology of the human microbiome symbiosis and its systemic effects, the impact of the gut microbiome on drug metabolism, the opportunities offered by the microbiome for new drug development, and the essential role played by the microbiome in a variety of disease states.
*Reception to follow.
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