Friendly bacteria commonly found in probiotic drinks could be used to shrink tumours, according to new research published in the International Journal of Medical Microbiology.
Researchers, from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and Sonidel Ltd. in Dublin, Ireland, looked at the effect on tumours of the common Lactobacillus casei. L. casei found in the human mouth and gut, and an ingredient used in many probiotic drinks.
The new study suggests that, when injected directly into tumours, L. Casei could inhibit tumour growth.
Previous research suggests that certain kinds of bacteria grow well in solid tumours, which opens up possibilities to use these kinds of bacteria to break down tumours from the inside. This study aimed to test the theory using a safe kind of bacteria-L. Casei was a good candidate.
The researchers grew the bacteria in beads, inside a growth solution. Tests showed that the bacteria produce molecules that are toxic to tumours.
To further test the hypothesis, the researchers then injected the encapsulated bacteria directly into tumours in mice. The bacteria significantly inhibited the growth of the tumours.
These research findings suggest that this approach has a potential therapeutic benefit in the treatment of solid tumours.
“The effects of microencapsulated Lactobacillus casei on tumour cell growth: In vitro and in vivo studies”,
Anupma Dwivedi et al.
International Journal of Medical Microbiology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2012.09.002