Professor Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, PhDDirector of the Center for Medical MycologyCase Western Reserve School of Medicine and UH

New Probiotic Targets Harmful Intestinal Biofilm in Crohn’s Disese Interview with:

Professor Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, PhDDirector of the Center for Medical MycologyCase Western Reserve School of Medicine and UH

Dr. Ghannoum

Professor Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, PhD
Director of the Center for Medical Mycology
Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and UH What are the main findings? 

Response: The driving force for this study was our finding that patients with Crohn’s disease had a significantly high level (or abundance) of pathogenic fungi (called Candida tropicalis) as well as bacteria (Escherichia coli, and Serratia Marcescens) compared to their non-diseased first-degree relatives. Not only were their levels high, but these organisms cooperated to form polymicrobial digestive plaque (or digestive biofilms) that aggravated the inflammatory symptoms in these patients.

Based on this we wanted to develop a probiotic that targeted these organisms and the biofilms they form. Our efforts led to the design of the novel Biohm probiotic which we tested and the results were described in our publication. What is the background for this study?

Response: The main discoveries are that the developed probiotic can prevent and treat the digestive polymicrobial biofilms formed by fungal and bacterial pathogens. In addition, our study started to reveal that the probiotic can interfere with the virulence factors of the fungi in these biofilms, which points us to future studies to gain insight into the underlying mechanism that allows these pathogens to cooperate and cause digestive issues/ What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The probiotic may have utility in the management of biofilm-associated gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s and colorectal cancer What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This study set the stage for future studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the designed probiotic in animals as well as clinical trials in patients. We plan to test the effect of this probiotic in other gastrointestinal biofilm-associated diseases such as colorectal cancer.

Disclosures: I am a co-founder of BIOHM Health that markets the tested probiotic 


Christopher L. Hager, Nancy Isham, Kory P. Schrom, Jyotsna Chandra, Thomas McCormick, Masaru Miyagi, Mahmoud A. Ghannoum. Effects of a Novel Probiotic Combination on Pathogenic Bacterial-Fungal Polymicrobial Biofilms. mBio, 2019; DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00338-19

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD