Breaking News
December 13, 2018 - Drug repositioning strategy identifies potential new treatments for epilepsy
December 13, 2018 - Chronic rhinitis associated with hospital readmissions for asthma and COPD patients
December 13, 2018 - Food poisoning discovery could save lives
December 13, 2018 - Cloned antibodies show potential to treat, diagnose life-threatening fungal infections
December 13, 2018 - Exercise may reduce colorectal cancer risk after weight loss
December 13, 2018 - Russian scientists create hardware-information system for brain disorders treatment
December 13, 2018 - Moderate alcohol consumption linked with lower risk of hospitalization
December 13, 2018 - Nurturing Healthy Neighborhoods | NIH News in Health
December 13, 2018 - Rise in meth and opioid use during pregnancy
December 13, 2018 - Researchers gain new insights into pediatric tumors
December 13, 2018 - FSU study finds racial disparity among adolescents receiving flu vaccine
December 13, 2018 - Drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off energy supply
December 13, 2018 - Baculovirus virion completely eliminates liver-stage parasites in mouse model
December 13, 2018 - Researchers create noninvasive technology that detects when nerve cells fire
December 13, 2018 - Treating patients with hypertension induced albuminuria
December 13, 2018 - New substance could improve efficacy of established breast cancer treatments
December 13, 2018 - Scientists develop new stem cell line to study conversion of stem cells into muscle
December 13, 2018 - Re-programming the body’s energy pathway boosts kidney self-repair
December 13, 2018 - Research findings could help improve treatment of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders
December 13, 2018 - The Microbiome Movement announce Microbiotica as official industry partner
December 13, 2018 - New study reveals potential benefits of cEEG monitoring for infant ICU patients
December 13, 2018 - Whole-body imaging PET/MRI offers information to guide treatment options for prostate cancer
December 13, 2018 - International investigators fight against the negative campaign on benzodiazepines
December 13, 2018 - Targeting biochemical pathway may lead to new therapies for alleviating symptoms of anxiety disorders
December 13, 2018 - FDA Approves Tolsura (SUBA®-itraconazole capsules) for the Treatment of Certain Fungal Infections
December 13, 2018 - Are scientists studying the wrong kind of mice?
December 13, 2018 - Computer memory: A scientific team builds a virtual model of a key brain region
December 13, 2018 - Visual inspection alone is insufficient to diagnose skin cancer
December 13, 2018 - Paternal grandfather’s access to food associated with grandson’s mortality risk
December 13, 2018 - Our brain senses angry voices in a flash, study shows
December 13, 2018 - PM2.5 Exposure Linked to Asthma Rescue Medication Use
December 13, 2018 - Can’t exercise? A hot bath may help improve inflammation, metabolism, study suggests
December 13, 2018 - Can artificial intelligence help doctors with the human side of medicine?
December 13, 2018 - Virginia Tech and UC San Diego researchers team up to develop nonopioid drug for chronic pain
December 13, 2018 - NIH offers support for HIV care and prevention research in the southern United States
December 12, 2018 - Activating brain region could revive the urge to socialize among opioid addicts
December 12, 2018 - Relationship impairment appears to interfere with seeking mental health treatment in men
December 12, 2018 - Sleep, Don’t Cram, Before Finals for Better Grades
December 12, 2018 - Effective treatments for urticarial vasculitis
December 12, 2018 - Gun violence is a public health issue: One physician’s story
December 12, 2018 - The Science of Healthy Aging
December 12, 2018 - Yes to yoghurt and cheese: New improved Mediterranean diet
December 12, 2018 - Researchers uncover a number of previously unknown insecticide resistance mechanisms
December 12, 2018 - Regulating the immune system’s ‘regulator’
December 12, 2018 - In breaking bad news, the comfort of silence
December 12, 2018 - Study finds upward link between alcohol consumption and physical activity in college students
December 12, 2018 - FDA issues warning letter to Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical involved in valsartan recall
December 12, 2018 - Weight history at ages 20 and 40 could help predict patients’ future risk of heart failure
December 12, 2018 - Presence of antiphospholipid antibodies tied to first-time MI
December 12, 2018 - DNA analysis finds that stethoscopes are teaming with bacteria
December 12, 2018 - New study could help inform research on preventing falls
December 12, 2018 - Women and men with heart attack symptoms receive different care from EMS
December 12, 2018 - Disrupted biological clock can contribute to onset of diseases, USC study shows
December 12, 2018 - New publications generate controversy over the value of reducing salt consumption in populations
December 12, 2018 - New data from TAILORx trial confirms lack of chemo benefit regardless of race or ethnicity
December 12, 2018 - Specific class of biomarkers can accurately indicate the severity of cancer
December 12, 2018 - Meds Taken Do Not Vary With ADL Impairment in Heart Failure
December 12, 2018 - Long-term study shows that HIV-2 is deadlier than previously thought
December 12, 2018 - People living near oil and gas wells show early signs of cardiovascular disease
December 12, 2018 - IONTAS founder and pioneer in phage display technology attends Nobel Prize Award Ceremony
December 12, 2018 - People who eat red meat have high levels of chemical associated with heart disease, study finds
December 12, 2018 - New method uses water molecules to unlock neurons’ secrets
December 12, 2018 - Genetics study offers hope for new acne treatment
December 12, 2018 - New computer model predicts prostate cancer progression
December 12, 2018 - Nobel Laureates lecture about immune checkpoint therapy for cancer treatment
December 12, 2018 - More Illnesses From Tainted Romaine Lettuce Reported
December 12, 2018 - Aspirin could reduce HIV infections in women
December 12, 2018 - The EORTC Brain Tumor Group and Protagen AG collaborate to study immuno-competence of long-term glioblastoma survivors
December 12, 2018 - Insights into magnetotactic bacteria could guide development of biological nanorobots
December 12, 2018 - Sacrificial immune cells alert body to infection
December 12, 2018 - Low-salt diet may be more beneficial for females than males
December 12, 2018 - Major soil organic matter compound battles chronic wasting disease
December 12, 2018 - Findings may open up new ways to treat dwarfism and other ER-stress-related conditions
December 12, 2018 - New computational model provides clearer picture of shape-changing cells’ structure and mechanics
December 12, 2018 - 10 Facts on Patient Safety
December 12, 2018 - Poorest dying nearly 10 years younger than the rich in ‘deeply worrying’ trend for UK
December 12, 2018 - Innovative care model for children with ASD reduces use of behavioral drugs in ED
December 12, 2018 - Spending time in and around Hong Kong’s waters linked to better health and wellbeing
December 12, 2018 - Simple measures to prevent weight gain over Christmas
December 12, 2018 - Research advances offer hope for patient-tailored AML treatment
Bacteria-fighting viruses could provide new approach to promoting gut health

Bacteria-fighting viruses could provide new approach to promoting gut health

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
This image shows small circles where bacteriophages have made e. Coli cells explode. Credit: Colorado State University

Intentionally putting viruses into one’s body might seem like a bad idea, but a study conducted at Colorado State University has demonstrated that a combination of bacteria-killing viruses is not only safe for humans, but seems to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation and combat E. coli.

Results from the research by CSU have confirmed the safety and tolerability of using viruses known as bacteriophages to reduce targeted bacterial species in the gut. The new treatment could be used to reduce inflammation-causing bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria known to enhance gastrointestinal health, immune function, and anti-inflammatory processes.

“If you told someone to go eat viruses for a month, they’d probably say you’re crazy,” said study co-investigator Tiffany Weir, an associate professor in CSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “Bacteriophages are pretty cool, because their host range is so specific that you’re not going to get sick from them. The ones we used infect E. coli cells and cause them to explode.”

Alternative to antibiotics

In some cases, bacteriophages may offer an alternative to antibiotics, which kill bacterial species less discriminately.

“People taking antibiotics can develop resistance and experience gastrointestinal distress, since antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria in the gut,” said study co-investigator Taylor C. Wallace, principal and CEO of the Think Healthy Group Inc. and professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University. “Using bacteriophages that infect only specific types of bacteria spares the many good bacteria in the gut that are linked to numerous long-term beneficial health outcomes. We have shown for the first time that bacteriophage treatment has no apparent side effects in humans, at least with short-term use.”

The Bacteriophage for Gastrointestinal Health (PHAGE) Study—the first U.S. clinical study of its kind to provide patients with bacteriophages—was published Aug. 29 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

About bacteriophages

Bacteriophages can selectively combat specific microorganisms in people without causing any type of infection or disrupting the microbiota, the natural population of microbes found in and on our bodies. In addition to treating bacteria-related gastrointestinal illnesses, the researchers are developing new human studies that assess the effectiveness of bacteriophages, in the form of dietary supplements, on other age- and obesity-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, that are thought to be influenced by the microbiome.

The PHAGE study, conducted in 2016-17 at CSU’s Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory, involved 36 individuals who self-reported occasional gastrointestinal distress—including constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, or abdominal pain—but were not diagnosed with a specific gastrointestinal disorder like Crohn’s disease. Study participants were assigned to either a placebo or treatment group for the first four weeks of the study, followed by a two-week washout period and an additional four weeks on the opposite treatment. The group received four bacteriophage strains that target E. coli, a common pathogen that can contribute to gastrointestinal irregularities and stomach upset.

“We used a combination of four strains to prevent the bacteria from developing resistance to the phages,” Weir said.

No adverse effects

The researchers report that study participants tolerated the bacteriophage treatment extremely well, with no adverse effects. Preliminary analysis also showed that bacteriophage treatment significantly decreased circulating interleukin 4, a protein often associated with allergic response and inflammatory disorders including dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. While the overall gut microbiota remained stable, E. coli populations were reduced.

The researchers say bacteriophages might also be useful for eliminating nutritional deficiencies due to chronic diarrhea, and they are seeking larger-scale support to test which strains might be best for this application. Chronic diarrhea and associated malnutrition are the second-most common causes of childhood death worldwide.

Weir noted that scientists explored the use of bacteriophages to treat ailments like dysentery in the early 1900s. At the time, the process proved time-consuming because it required doctors to sample and grow bacteria in the lab to identify the infection before selecting appropriate bacteriophages, so they were abandoned in favor of the faster antibiotics approach.

“With the current interest in modifying the gut bacteria for improved health, people are beginning to seriously look at phages again for the first time in nearly 100 years,” Weir said.


Explore further:
Bacteriophages offer promising alternative to antibiotics

More information:
Melinda Gindin et al. Bacteriophage for Gastrointestinal Health (PHAGE) Study: Evaluating the Safety and Tolerability of Supplemental Bacteriophage Consumption, Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2018). DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2018.1483783

Journal reference:
Journal of the American College of Nutrition

Provided by:
Colorado State University

About author

Related Articles