Scientists Hope Research is Starting Point for Personalized Medicine for Women
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND MEDICAL CENTER
The delicate balance of microbes in the vagina can change drastically over short periods of time in some women, while remaining the same in others, according to a new study led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute for Genome Sciences and the University of Idaho. The scientists believe that these microbes affect a woman’s susceptibility to infection and other diseases, so such changes might also mean that the risk of infection varies over time. Researchers hope further study will lead to personalized medicine for women, allowing doctors to tailor each woman’s treatment and health maintenance strategies to her individual microbial make-up. Researchers used advanced genomics and bioinformatics technology to analyze the vaginal microbes found in 32 women over time. The work was a collaboration led by Jacques Ravel, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology and associate director of the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Larry Forney, Ph.D., a professor in Biological Sciences and director of the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies at the University of Idaho. The research marks the first time genomics technologies have been used to examine vaginal microbial communities over time. The study is an example of an emerging field of genomics, the study of the human microbiome. Learn more at http://bit.ly/J9klds.