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Researchers: Cures to diseases may live in our guts
Date:8/19/2010

model, made by MSU engineers, and mice to study communities of microbes and whether reduced diversity in those communities which can be caused by antibiotics allows pathogens to take hold. "Although most of us think bacteria are bad, the 10 trillion bacteria that inhabit our gut play some very important roles, one of which is to keep bad bacteria from flourishing in our intestines, causing disease," Britton said. "What we hope to learn is which bacteria or communities of bacteria can protect us and how can we use this knowledge to create new therapies and treatments."

*Host response: Led by Mansfield, researchers are trying to find the link between enteric disease caused by Campylobacter jejuni (a food-borne bacterium often found on poultry) and autoimmune disorders that are rapidly increasing in the United States. Nervous system autoimmune diseases such as Guillain Barr syndrome and Miller Fisher syndrome have been associated with recent Campylobacter infection. These diseases can cause paralysis and death, yet researchers do not know why, Mansfield said. "Our goal in this project is to understand the causes and to develop preventions and cures," she said. "We believe it will also provide insights into how other autoimmune diseases begin."

*Clinical Research: Led by molecular epidemiologist Shannon Manning, researchers will study fecal samples taken by the Michigan Department of Community Health to determine how infection with different pathogens (such as E. coli) alters the type of microbes present in the intestine. The microbial communities in patients with disease will be compared with communities in exposed individuals without disease. "Our hope is to identify potentially beneficial microbes, microbial communities and/or microbial by-products that can be used to prevent or treat disease," Manning said.


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Contact: Jason Cody
codyja@msu.edu
517-432-0924
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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