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Friendly Bacteria Found in Probiotic Drinks May Shrink Solid Tumors

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 15 Apr 2013
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Friendly bacteria typically found in probiotic drinks could be used to shrink tumors, according to new research.

Researchers, from the University of Ulster (Northern Ireland) and Sonidel, Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland), examined the effect on tumors of the common Lactobacillus casei, which is found in the gut and human mouth, and a substance used in many probiotic drinks.

When injected directly into tumors, the new findings suggest that L. Casei could suppress tumor growth. Earlier studies suggest that specific kinds of bacteria grow well in solid tumors, which created the potential to use these kinds of bacteria to degrade tumors from the inside out. This study was structured to evaluate the hypothesis using a harmless kind of bacteria—L. Casei was a good candidate.

The researchers cultured the bacteria in beads, inside a growth solution. The research revealed that the bacteria generate molecules that are toxic to tumors. To further assess the hypothesis, the researchers then injected the encapsulated bacteria directly into tumors in lab mice. The bacteria substantially suppressed tumor growth. These research findings suggest that this approach has a potential therapeutic benefit in the treatment of solid tumors.

The study’s findings were published December 2012 in the International Journal of Medical Microbiology.

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University of Ulster

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