The key to curing mood disorders, like depression, or neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s, may lie in an unexpected place – your gut. By communicating through hormonal and neural circuits, the brain and the gut work together to regulate your metabolism, digestion, and even your central nervous system.
Uncovering every connection between the brain and the gut, though, is an incredibly complicated task. With so many different types of cells sending unique sets of signals back and forth, the communication between the brain and the gut can be difficult to parse. But by combining expertise in molecular biology, neuroscience, and systems biology, a leading New York City-based biotechnology company, has developed cutting-edge technology to map all of the circuits between the gut and the brain, and in doing so, to develop therapeutics for diseases that affect the brain-gut axis, which can be difficult to treat.
They liken the gut-brain connections to music:
“There’s all these kinds of cells within your gut, which are like the keys of the piano,” explains the company. “And if you played them in different combinations, you could achieve different things.” By listening to the music of the gut and the brain, they hope to understand what happens when the music falls out of tune – in other words, when the gut-brain connection becomes dysregulated by disease.
Many disorders that affect the gut-brain axis are difficult to treat for the simple reason that it is hard to directly treat the brain. Gut cells, on the other hand, are much more accessible, and through hormone signaling, gut cells can also communicate with and affect many other regions in the body.
“The whole premise of it is now that we've mapped out these circuits, is to actually use gut therapies to then treat disorders around the body,” the company says. Using the gut as a mechanism to treat nervous system disorders and other gut-brain disorders also has the advantage of minimizing side-effects.
“Your gut is meant to naturally respond to things,” they add. “Especially for diseases of the brain, we like to think of it as the safe way to treat the brain.”
Since their founding in 2015, the company has made impressive strides in decoding the intricate connections between the gut and the brain. They have grown from a small team to a growing 65-person company. Back when they were starting out, they used Quartzy to help streamline their ordering process. Now, they are taking advantage of Quartzy’s full-range of features, and they find that it saves them at least one to two days of work per week – effectively filling the role of one or two full time staffers.
“Now, they are taking advantage of Quartzy’s full-range of features, and they find that it saves them at least one to two days of work per week – effectively filling the role of one or two full time staffers. ”
With all of that time saved, the company has been able to develop gut-brain therapeutics even faster. In fact, the first clinical trials for their new obesity treatment started just last year.
The company has even taken advantage of Quartzy’s email notification system to save them more valuable time. By setting up a series of receiving shelves, fridges, and freezers, all of the supplies that their scientists order from Quartzy are safely stowed until they come to pick it up.
“Because of the notification, the people know to go find them, and [other people] don't need to hunt high or low for 50 different employees to find where they are to give them packages,” the company says.
With a streamlined and efficient work flow, the company is accelerating advancements in treating gut-brain disorders that have been difficult to treat thus far. Soon enough, disorders that upset normal communication between the gut and the brain will be brought back into harmony with new therapeutics.