Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a method to predict postoperative infections in liver transplant patients by analyzing molecules in their feces. The study examines the connection between the gut microbiome and overall health. The presence of drug-resistant pathogens in the microbiome was found to accurately predict postoperative infections. Additionally, the researchers discovered that patients with diverse microbiomes, characterized by multiple bacterial species and beneficial metabolites, were less likely to develop infections. The findings suggest that microbiome analysis and metabolite profiling could be used as a quick and effective diagnostic tool to predict patient outcomes.
The study’s lead author, Christopher Lehmann, emphasized the urgency of understanding and effectively combating antibiotic resistance. The next step in this research is to explore the possibility of correcting patients’ microbiomes using external sources, such as healthy gut bacteria from a biobank. Lehmann suggests that microbiome restoration is not a distant future concept, as FDA-approved microbiome restoration products are already available. The University of Chicago is working on a Good Manufacturing Practices-compliant facility to produce and package gut bacteria derived from healthy donors for patients to consume. These measures aim to repopulate healthy gut bacteria and provide protection against drug-resistant infections.