June 14, 2024

Engineered Probiotic Yeast A Novel Approach to Combat Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Enhancing Drug Delivery and Reducing Inflammation

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic and intricate condition that necessitates personalized care to cater to the unique requirements of each patient’s disease state. Current treatments, including medications, can bring about severe side effects or lose their effectiveness over time. To tackle these challenges in IBD treatment and drug delivery, researchers at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the UNC School of Medicine, led by Juliane Nguyen, Ph.D., and Janelle Arthur, Ph.D., have engineered a probiotic strain of Saccharomyces boulardii.

In their recent study published in Nature Communications, Nguyen, Arthur, and their team demonstrated that their genetically modified probiotic delivery system significantly enhances probiotic concentrations and prolongs their survival time in the gut. This improvement in probiotic uptake was also shown to suppress and even reverse inflammation.

Nguyen, who is also a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UNC McAllister Heart Institute, stated, “We can now use this knowledge to develop more potent probiotics and have greater control over their function. Our long-term objective is to engineer an oral live biotherapeutic that can secrete specific therapeutics, allowing patients with IBD to avoid painful injections or infusions with antibodies.”

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