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Yogurt Probiotics Used to Fight Cancer

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 04 Apr 2013
Probiotics, similar to those found in yogurt, which are found to enhance digestive health, are now being considered as a possible weapon to be used in the war against cancer.

This is the focus of investigators from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (New Brunswick, USA), a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who are studying the effectiveness of probiotics as they relate to the outcomes of bone marrow transplant for blood cancer patients.

Some patients with lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma are treated with an allogeneic bone marrow transplant where the donor is a blood relative or is unrelated but has the same tissue type. Donated cells can generate an immune attack against cancer cells in the patient, but they can also attack normal healthy cells and tissues. This attack, known as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), is one of the key problems of transplantation and occurs in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract in 25%–40% of patients who undergo the allogeneic procedure.

When the GI tract breaks down, bacteria in the colon can invade the body and cause nasty infections that trigger the immune system. GVHD can then advance to the liver and other organs. Probiotics are known to decrease the growth of specific types of bacteria. Investigators from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who have already determined the probiotic Lactobacillus GG is safe in relation to GVHD, are now exploring its effectiveness as part of the PERFECT (Probiotic Enteric Regimen For Easing Complications of Transplant) trial. The research is being led by Roger Strair, MD, PhD, chief of hematologic alignancies/hematopoietic stem cell transplantation at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

“By further exploring the effects of probiotics on graft-versus-host-disease, we may be able to identify methods of preventing infection. We are grateful for their support,” noted Dr. Strair, professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Related Links:
Cancer Institute of New Jersey



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