The microbes They may sound like enemies, but inside our gut they are our greatest allies. Numerous diseases, including the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), have to do with the balance of these microbes, so the properties of the microbes are being studied. probiotics to cure and prevent these pathologies.
In the words of the ACCU Confederation (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), IBD “encompasses two pathologies, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.” Both diseases are characterized by being intestinal diseases, being immune-mediated, inflammatory and chronic, which evolve according to outbreaks and periods of remission.
“Both alter the body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients, and they also share clinical and pathological characteristics. Some common symptoms are: diarrhea, blood in the stool, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss and fever, “they explain from the ACCU.
Despite their similarities, there are also clinical and pathological differences between the two. «For example, the affected area. Ulcerative colitis is characterized by chronic inflammatory lesions in the wall of the large intestine (colon), while crohn’s can appear anywhere in the digestive system (from the mouth to the anus). You can only have one or the other, not both at the same time. In cases where there are doubts as to which of these two diseases causes inflammation, the term indeterminate colitis is used ”, they comment.
Therefore, treatment with probiotics as a complement to conventional treatment is associated with a reduction in adverse events in patients with IBD. Those who take probiotics for 75% or more of the course of their disease could have a significant decrease in probiotics related to the disease, both in crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
New probiotic for inflammatory bowel diseases
To treat a disease like IBD, a probiotic must serve many functions, including the ability to end inflammation, reverse damage, and restore the gut microbiome. For this reason, a study carried out in the United States, specifically by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (USA), have developed a ‘designer’ probiotic, a carefully designed yeast that can induce multiple effects for the treatment of IBD .
“We have taken yeast, the same that is used to make beer, and we have given it the ability to detect inflammation and secrete an anti-inflammatory molecule,” said corresponding author Francisco Quintana, a researcher at the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham. . “We call this new platform Y-bots (yeast robots) and we see the potential here to develop therapies that can treat diseases of the gut tissue and more,” admits one of the leading researchers.
In fact, previous research from Quintana’s laboratory has helped shed light on the connection between the gut and diseases that affect the brain, suggesting the applications that probiotic engineering could have beyond these pathologies.
Brewer’s yeast for IBD
The researchers they used developed their probiotic using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a kind of yeast that is used to make wine and beer. Thanks to CRISPR / Cas9 gene editing technology, the researchers introduced genetic elements that could detect inflammation and respond to it by secreting an enzyme that can degrade a key molecule involved in inflammation.
During the study, the probiotic was found to have a highly localized response to inflammation, so it was tested in mice where the modified yeast was found to successfully suppress intestinal inflammation, reduce fibrosis, and restore a balanced gut microbiome.
However, for this to be applied in humans, researchers will need to conduct safety studies and further refine the designed yeast to see if they can accelerate tissue repair. Thus, beyond these diseases, the team intends to investigate the use of probiotics to treat a common side effect of immunotherapy against cancer, colitis.