Microbial Interactions with Medications: Filipe Cabreiro Talks Drugs and the Microbiome
Filipe Cabrerio researches how a host’s microbiome and physiology interact in the context of different conditions such as aging and metabolic syndrome while taking various medications.
He shares some his lab’s research with listeners, explaining
- What they found when studying colorectal cancer drugs and microbial metabolism,
- How metformin interacts with microbial physiologies to alter metabolic syndrome, and
- What future studies he hopes to instigate involving the vast genetic diversity in some of these microbes, even within the same species, and medical impactions for treatment.
Filipe Cabreiro holds a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship in the London Institute of Medical Sciences at the Imperial College of London. His lab works to understand how the microbiome interacts with a host’s physiology—how the microbes that one produces interact with others, especially when both are challenged by daily medications taken to deal with disease and in the conditions of aging.
The lab recently made an important discovery in the context of cancer drugs: they found that classic drugs for colorectal cancer were modified by microbial metabolism that reduced or amplified the action of the drugs. Further, they found that certain components of food could change that response.
He also discusses a study on metformin, a drug taken for type 2 diabetes, and its interaction with the microbiome. They found that nutrients, the host’s microbiome, and the drug interact in an important way. Metformin makes selective pressures on certain gut microbes, which translates into longer lasting change associated with positive effects. They think metformin pushes for certain conditions that allow some healthful microbes to survive and also pushes strong metabolic change.
The consequences of that change is the production of molecules such as fatty acids and others that can actively regulate the host’s physiology and metabolism. He explains the nature of this interaction and the significance in more detail along with challenges to these kinds of studies, further hypotheses, and future research he hopes to take on.