Gut bacteria help immunotherapy drugs work better in humans

Gut bacteria help immunotherapy drugs work better in humans

Professor Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD of UChicago Medicine is an expert in immunotherapy. His latest findings may shock a number of people in orthodox medicine. Published in Science, Jan 18th 2018, his team has shown that the new immunotherapy drugs almost certainly need gut bacteria to help them work in humans.





Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and founder of CANCERactive said, “Why am I not surprised? We have in fact covered previous studies showing this already, but they were done with mice. This time it was with humans. 






If you strip away the hype, PD-1 inhibitors only have an effect in 17-30 per cent of patients; the question is ‘Why not everybody?’ And one answer is that immunotherapy seems to be very damaging to the gut microbiome. But this research and other studies are clear – a healthy microbiome can stimulate T-cells to lead the attack against tumours. So the drugs are actually knocking out their allies and the friendly fire!”

Go to: Review of Immunotherapy drugs in cancer






Gajewski found levels of Bifidobacterium longum, Collinsella aerofaciens, and Enterococcus faecium were much higher in the intestines of patients who responded to immunotherapy, than those who did not.






“We initially thought the microbiome was a minor component. But in our current study, these bacteria were a very strong predictor of who would respond,” said Gajewski






Scientists focused on 8 types of bacteria found to be higher among patients who responded to treatment and 2 species that were more common among patients who did not respond. The higher the ratio of commensal (good) bacteria to non-commensal, the better the response to immunotherapy drugs.






Woollams added, ”Of course, this will be a shock to modern medicine – complementary and integrative therapies proven to be important. Whatever next?”

Go to: Antibiotics shown to damage the effect of some anti-cancer and immunotherapy drugs





2018 Research
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