Ben Boursi MD School of Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv, Israel

Changing Gut Microbiome May Enhance Cancer Response to Immunotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ben Boursi MD School of Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv, Israel

Dr. Boursi

Ben Boursi MD
Senior Physician in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Department at Sheba Medical Center
School of Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv, Israel

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? What conditions have fecal matter transplants been previously studied in (ie c. diff)?

Response: “Many melanoma patients do not respond to immunotherapy and even among responders, many eventually progress. Extensive research has been conducted in order to overcome resistance to immunotherapy and modulation of the gut microbiota, is one of the promising leads. The gut microbiome has been shown to influence response to immunotherapy in preclinical mouse models and observational patient cohorts. Currently FMT is being used for the treatment of C. Difficile that is resistant to antibiotics, but it is also being evaluated as a treatment option for other disease states such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.”


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Was the same anti-PD-1 immunotherapy used after the fecal transplant in these cancer patients?

Response: “The study provides the first clinical evidence that the gut microbiota increases anti-tumor immunity, which is translated into objective clinical responses in refractory metastatic melanoma patients. During the re-induction of immunotherapy, we used the same immunotherapy that previously failed. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: “That the concept of microbiota modulation in cancer is clinically meaningful. Changing the gut microbiota composition and re-inducing immunotherapy may, in some patients, lead to clear clinical responses.”

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: “Future studies will assess microbiota modulation in other malignancies that are treated with immunotherapy such as lung and bladder cancers. We will also need to understand who the best donors are and what are the exact biological mechanisms behind the clinical responses.” 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: “All microbiota modulations in cancer patients at this point should be done only as part of highly regulated and monitored clinical trials.”

My partners in the project are Prof. Gal Markel and Dr. Erez Baruch. I have no disclosures.

Citation: 

Fecal microbiota transplant promotes response in immunotherapy-refractory melanoma patients

 BY EREZ N. BARUCH, ILAN YOUNGSTER, GUY BEN-BETZALEL, RONA ORTENBERG, ADI LAHAT, LIOR KATZ, KATERINA ADLER, DANIELA DICK-NECULA, STEPHEN RASKIN, NAAMAH BLOCH, DANIIL ROTIN, LIAT ANAFI, CAMILA AVIVI, JENNY MELNICHENKO, YAEL STEINBERG-SILMAN, RONAC MAMTANI, HAGIT HARATI, NETHANEL ASHER, RONNIE SHAPIRA-FROMMER, TAL BROSH-NISSIMOV, YAEL ESHET, SHIRA BEN-SIMON, OREN ZIV, MD ABDUL WADUD KHAN, MORAN AMIT, NADIM J. AJAMI, IRIS BARSHACK, JACOB SCHACHTER, JENNIFER A. WARGO, OMRY KOREN, GAL MARKEL, BEN BOURSI

PUBLISHED ONLINE10 DEC 2020 DOI: 10.1126/science.abb5920

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Jan 5, 2021 @ 2:30 pm 

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