Probiotic bacteria could control the development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC), according to researchers from the University of Plymouth, UK and the Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice, Slovak Republic. The study, ‘A Novel Lactic Acid Bacteria Mixture: Macrophage-Targeted Prophylactic Intervention in Colorectal Cancer Management’, published in the journal Microorganisms, was led by Dr Andrew Foey (Plymouth) and Dr Vlasta Demeckova (Kosice).
According to the researchers, probiotics exhibit both anti- and pro-inflammatory properties and restore balance in the microbiota. Therefore, they investigated the immunomodulatory properties of six lactobacilli with probiotic features in an in vitro model of macrophage-like cells and to test these pooled probiotics for their anti-tumour properties in a chemically induced CRC model using Wistar male rats.
The tested lactobacilli exhibited both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties in in vitro conditions and that the administration of probiotics was able to decrease multiplicity, volume and total tumour numbers, restore colon length (p<0.05) and increase IL-18 production (p<0.05) in tumour tissue. These data indicate both an immunomodulatory effect of probiotics on distinct macrophage subsets and a protective effect against chemically-induced CRC, the researchers noted, and that this may be as a result of the way the lactobacilli mixture changed macrophage immune cell behaviour.
"This study is just a small piece of a very large picture focused on understanding CRC and the potential development of therapeutics to control this disease. This investigation positively impacts on cancer research by highlighting the potential clinical translatability of probiotic mixtures to beneficially manipulate the immune system against CRC,” said Foey. "This highlights the need for future research focused on probiotics in targeting macrophage cell responses in the treatment of colorectal cancer of the gut. It also indicates the potential use of probiotics in treatment of cancers associated with similar tissues, such as oral squamous cell carcinoma in the mouth."
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