The identification of bacteria and bacterial products that will help balance the immune system of humans and protect them against cancer and autoimmune diseases is the future goal of collaboration between the Laboratory of Pathology at the Veterinary Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, (AUTH) and the Department of Comparative Medicine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Theophilos Poutahidis, associate professor at AUTH told ANA-MPA.
Experiments on mice, carried out since 2002, have found bacteria in the intestinal flora, which are related to the process of carcinogenesis.
In the context of cooperation between the two educational institutions, scientists found that helicobacter hepaticus (a Helicobacter that exists only in the gastrointestinal system of mice) accelerates breast and prostate cancer, whereas the Lactobacillus reuteri (a gram-positive probiotic bacterium) not only helps reduce the risk of breast cancer, but also has a positive effect on the skin and the regeneration of hair follicles, while protecting the testicles and thymus against alterations caused by aging.
Moreover, Lactobacillus reuteri protected the mice from obesity, despite the consumption of food that caused it. According to Poutahidis, one of the key contributors in cooperation between AUTH and MIT, the systemic effects of subclinical inflammation, which are associated with the exposure to the risk of cancer, play a dominant role in the immune system.
“The future objectives of the scientific team include a further analysis of the mechanisms of systemic effects of bowel flora on the body, the identification of the most beneficial active molecules of bacteria and clinical trials on humans.
Cancer, autoimmune diseases and obesity are nowadays growing into an epidemic. Our goal is to find bacteria and bacterial products that can be consumed by humans since the first years of their life so that they can have a balanced immune system and reduce the risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases, related to the deregulation of the immune system,” he added.