A Redlands mother says a gut disease and cancer breakthrough from Mater Research could help her children know their genetic risk and get better treatment.
Mater Researchers now have a better understanding of the causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and potential future treatments.
The research identifies five strains of gut bacteria that suppress inappropriate gut inflammation and disease symptoms.
Mater Research's IBD Research Group Leader, Associate Professor Jake Begun said the breakthrough could pave the way for new treatments and could help prevent some forms of bowel cancer.
Redlands mother, Lyn Savage, 56, was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2021 and was treated at Mater Hospital Brisbane.
She had struggled with bowel disorders since she was a teenager and said the research findings were making way for a better future for her family who could inherit chronic and debilitating bowel issues.
"If researchers can find out what's causing bowel disease there's a chance that one day down the track my children or grandchildren won't have to go through what I have experienced over the past decades," she said.
"I'm surprised how common bowel diseases are. When you have one it affects every aspect of your life, and you must modify your activities based on what's happening with the disease.
"It would be great if researchers like Dr Begun and his team can build on the findings to develop preventative drugs or treatments to stop this disease taking hold."
IBD is a chronic condition that has two predominant subtypes - Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis - that are characterised by relapsing and remitting gut inflammation.
It is believed to be caused by an abnormal gut bacterial composition that produces an immune response in genetically susceptible people resulting in severe symptoms and disability and it affects more than 100,000 Australians.
Potent drugs to suppress the immune system are used to treat IBD but they only work for about 50 per cent of patients.
Dr Begun said his team isolated bacteria found in the healthy gut and found several species that produced a range of anti-inflammatory substances.
"While the gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria that have co-evolved with humans over time, our lab tests identified five strains that were able to suppress inflammation in blood and tissue samples from IBD patients," said Dr Begun who is also a consultant gastroenterologist at Mater Hospital Brisbane.
"Furthermore, one of these healthy gut bacterial strains produced anti-inflammatory substances that were able to reduce disease severity in a pre-clinical model by inhibiting one of the master molecular regulators of inflammation called NF-kB, without causing any side-effects."
The study was funded by the US Department of Defence, The University of Queensland School of Medicine, and Mater Foundation.
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