Probiotic Patch Enhances Intestinal Wound Healing in IBD, Mouse Study Shows

A probiotic-based therapeutic approach, where gut bacteria were genetically engineered to produce a patch, enhanced intestinal wound healing in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a study reports. The study, "Engineered E.coli Nissle 1917 for the delivery of matrix-tethered therapeutic domains to the gut," was published in the journal Nature Communications. The cause of IBD is not yet fully understood but multiple factors seem to play a role, including environmental factors and an overactive immune system against the body's own gut microbes. This dysregulated immune system leads to the destruction of the intestinal barrier between the inside of the gut and the rest of the body, leading to an increase in the amount of bacteria and other harmful materials that enhance inflammation. This barrier is known as a mucosal layer, where certain cells produce mucus (a thick fluid) which acts to protect against pathogens. The recovery of this barrier is essential for treating IBD symptoms. Anti-inflammatory therapies are used to decrease inflammation, and antibiotics to treat the infections in IBD. However, anti-inflammatory therapies have side effects, and antibiotics can also harm the microbiome. Currently, no therapies are available that can be directly applied to the inflamed lesions. The potential involvement of gut microbes in IBD has led researchers to attempt to use living bacteria, or probiotics, as therapeutics with the hope that these would decrease the side effects of systemic (whole-body) therapies. Microbes genetically engineered to release protective molecules (e.g. interleukin-10 or anti-tumor necrosis factor) locally in the gut have shown promising results in animal models. However, these have failed to produce significant improveme
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