FORBES | A growing body of scientific research over the last 15 years has highlighted the crucial role the microbiome plays in human health. That new understanding could lead to breakthrough treatments for a huge range of illnesses, from digestive ailments and food allergies to cancer, serious infections and even autism. More than 50,000 scientific papers in the last five years have explored the microbiome’s effects. Various kinds of gut bacteria appear to stimulate or suppress immune responses in the body, while others seem to fight off disease-causing microbes. A groundswell of cutting-edge research has the potential to deliver a burst of new therapies that will vastly reduce human suffering—and generate huge paydays for the field’s pioneers. This article take at why some people are excited about the possibilities.