Probiotics for Crohns disease, colitis and colon cancer

In the US, where more than a million people suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, these conditions are treated with immune suppressive drugs including steroids. These medications often have side effects and are not totally effective. But new research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has found that a genetically tweaked version of a common probiotic found in yogurt and cheese is an effective treatment for these two diseases and may even cure them. The research also suggests that probiotics may be helpful in treating colon cancer, a disease triggered by bowl inflammation.

In tests on mice with two different models of colitis, the team of researchers found that after two weeks of being fed on the new strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus all colon inflammation had been eliminated. Progression of the disease had also been halted by 95%. The modified probiotic calmed overstimulated immune cells in the gut by mobilising dendritic cells that enhanced the production of other functional immune cells called regulatory T-cells. All this created a healthy balance in the gut and got rid of systemic inflammation. The next step is to trial the probiotic on humans.

Source: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

First Published in Febuary 2011

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