Study: Microorganisms for Cancer Treatment

English Section / 6 decembrie 2023

Study: Microorganisms for Cancer Treatment

Versiunea în limba română

Research aimed at finding effective treatments for serious illnesses often leads scientists down unconventional paths. For instance, fecal matter collected from healthy subjects is now being used in the treatment of patients. As studies on the microbiota progress, biopharmaceutical companies are developing drugs based on billions of microorganisms that inhabit the intestines, according to a study published by AFP. In its new factory in the Lyon region (central-east) - the largest in Europe dedicated exclusively to microbiota-based drugs - the biotechnology company MaaT Pharma aims to improve the survival of cancer patients and their response to immunotherapies by restoring the microbiota affected by intensive treatments. This technology develops a drug, MaaT013, currently in the final stages of clinical trials to treat graft-versus-host disease, a rare condition that occurs after a stem cell transplant in blood cancers and can be fatal. The first results of the study are expected in mid-2024, but this drug is already available in several European countries for those in urgent need. The biotechnology company aims to commercialize "9,000 annual doses" of this therapeutic solution produced at its new center in the suburbs of Lyon. The collected feces are transported by train and truck in cryovials at 5°C and are processed within a maximum of 72 hours from emission. The goal is to mix fecal matter from donors to obtain the "marrow substance": a rich and varied microbiota that will be reintroduced to patients in the hospital rectally, as an enema, to recolonize their digestive system and restore the affected microbiota. "Out of the 3,000 volunteers who fill out the form, only 30 meet the criteria for good digestive and mental health," explained the production director of the factory, Cecile Billa-Nys, mentioning that there is a connection between mental health and microbiota. Donors, usually recruited through social networks and university campuses a few weeks before production begins, must undergo "blood tests every 60 days and daily coprological examinations" during sample collection. "Each coprological examination is performed on 25 different pathogenic parameters," said Caroline Schwintner, director of technological development at Maat Pharma. The traceability, consistency, and visual appearance of the biological matter are checked before adding a diluent to suspend the solution and protect the bacteria during freezing. It should be noted that other French biotechnologists are also interested in this new therapeutic horizon. Exeliom Biosciences is developing a drug that exploits the anti-inflammatory properties of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, considered the "star bacteria of the intestine." For their activity, all these companies rely on scientific data regarding the intestinal microbiota.

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