A Very Hopeful Huge Step Forward in IBD (and other diseases) Treatment

Good morning, Biome Fans.  Before I launch into today’s cool piece of research, I just wanted to let you all know that going forward, more often than not, I’ll only be blogging once per week, as opposed to the twice I’ve been doing for years now.  As my regular readers know, this blog is my hobby, not my livelihood and I currently work two jobs to make a living.  The good news is that my new business has really taken off:  I am booked all day every day.  Realistically, I just don’t have the time to read and research two posts every week.  (I will, of course, post every weekday interesting tidbits on the Biome Buzz Facebook page!)

On to today’s science:

As many of you may remember, I’ve written before about the inadequacies and dangers inherent in the current treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases.  (Look here too.)  In that 2017 post I quote an article from the FDA:  “FDA Reports Crohn’s Disease Side Effects Have Increased, Analysis Finds.  The article explains that ‘Drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune disorders are among those with the greatest number of reported side effects filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…’”

So hooray for this week’s tidbit!  Researchers at the University of North Carolina have found, in an animal study, that a mixture of bacteria, which have been found at low levels – or missing entirely – from the guts of those with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) can both prevent and treat colitis.[i]  Such a treatment would, of course, negate the need to use immunosuppressive drugs in those suffering from IBD:  a light-years advancement in medicine.  As these researchers say, “We believe that this approach has the potential to maintain long term remission in a physiologic and safe manner…”  Well, hallelujah to that!

The products tested were made by a company called Gusto Global.  GUT-103 has 17 strains of bacteria that work symbiotically and feed each other.  GUT-108 is a more refined version, containing 11 strains of native human species of bacteria.  The combinations of bacterial species are designed to extend the lifespans of the bacteria once they reach the gut.  Prior to treatment with these mixes, germ-free mice were given human bacterial microbiomes.  Then these probiotic mixes were given the mice three times per week.  The formulas successfully decreased pathobionts (pathogenic bacteria) and protected commensal bacteria, while also promoting healing of the mucosal lining and boosting immune-regulation Said the lead researcher:  “Simply put – the treatment increased the good guys and decreased the bad guys.”[ii]

GUT-103  “…prevented and treated chronic immune-mediated colitis.”  GUT 108 , “…reversed established colitis in a humanized chronic T cell-mediated mouse model.”

Next steps of course are testing the mixes – especially GUT-108 – in humans:  “These integrated protective mechanisms make GUT-108 a promising novel therapy to treat a range of conditions whose pathogenesis is characterized by dysbiosis-mediated chronic intestinal inflammation and increased mucosal permeability. Besides IBD this could include graft versus host disease, hepatic encephalopathy, alcoholic liver disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes mellitus.”

I’m watching this space carefully so stay tuned!

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[i] Daniel van der Lelie, Akihiko Oka, Safiyh Taghavi, Junji Umeno, Ting-Jia Fan, Katherine E. Merrell, Sarah D. Watson, Lisa Ouellette, Bo Liu, Muyiwa Awoniyi, Yunjia Lai, Liang Chi, Kun Lu, Christopher S. Henry, R. Balfour Sartor. Rationally designed bacterial consortia to treat chronic immune-mediated colitis and restore intestinal homeostasis. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23460-x

[ii] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210528114008.htm

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