Immunotherapy and the Gut Microbiome (what you eat may play a vital role in the success of new immune checkpoint therapies)

At a recent European Oncology meeting in Barcelona attention was drawn to the relevance of the microbiome in the success of cancer immunotherapy.  More studies are needed to identify which species of probiotics or microbes that provide health benefits are responsible for these findings and what type of supportive diet or prebiotics is required however; preliminary studies indicate this is an important aspect of immunotherapy.  Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.

In April 2014, one of the UCLA Simms/Mann Center for Integrative Oncology monthly Insights lectures featured the research of Robert Schiestl, PhD at UCLA who is working on a model of anti-inflammatory processes and how certain microbial species are associated with a healthy gut mucosa.   Initial studies with mice have now expanded to humans.  Dr Schiestl heads a team of researchers here at UCLA investigating anti-inflammatory processes and gut health.  Another team of immunologists led by Laurence Zitrovel of the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus in France is also investigating this topic and presented at the recent meeting.  Zitvogel’s team found that Akkermansia muciniphila, a species associated with the health of the gut mucus lining, plays a role in cytokine IL12 release, which is thought to be linked to T cell activity.

The bottom line is that a diet providing prebiotics or dietary fiber that supports a healthy microbiome ecosystem may play a crucial role in the success of cancer immunotherapy.  For expert guidance in how to optimize your diet please contact Carolyn Katzin at UCLA Simms/Mann Center for Integrative Oncology at 310.794.6644.

Further reading:

Gut microbes shape response to cancer immunotherapy

Jocelyn Kaiser

Science 03 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6363, pp. 573DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6363.573

Published: April 13, 2016
Authors: Amrita K. Cheema , Irene Maier , Tyrone Dowdy, Yiwen Wang, Rajbir Singh, Paul M. Ruegger, James Borneman, Albert J. Fornace Jr, Robert H. Schiestl
Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0151190

Fine-Tuning Cancer Immunotherapy: Optimizing the Gut Microbiome

Authors: Jonathan M. Pitt, Marie Vétizou, Nadine Waldschmitt, Guido Kroemer, Mathias Chamaillard, Ivo Gomperts Boneca and Laurence Zitvogel
DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-0448 Published 15 August 2016
Source: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/76/16/4602

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