A berry from Brazil helps — ScienceDaily

Castalagin, a polyphenol from the Amazonian camu-camu fruit, increases the effectiveness of immunotherapy in mice by altering their microbiome, according to Canadian researchers.

Canadian researchers have discovered that the Brazilian camu-camu berry, already recognized for its protective effects against obesity and diabetes, can also help treat cancers.

In a study published in discovery of cancer, the team of researcher Bertrand Routy, professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Montreal, shows that a compound in the fruit can have a positive role to play in immunotherapy.

“With this research, conducted with our colleagues from Laval University and McGill University, we have proven that castalagin, a polyphenol acting as a prebiotic, modifies the intestinal microbiome and improves the immunotherapeutic response, even for resistant cancers. to this type of treatment,” Dr. Routy said.

“Our results pave the way for clinical trials that will use castalagin as an adjunct to drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients,” added Meriem Messaoudene, postdoctoral student in Dr. Routy’s lab and first author of the paper. ‘study.

In recent years, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have given patients renewed hope that their immune systems can overcome cancer resistance by revolutionizing therapies targeting melanoma and lung cancer. This type of immunotherapy activates the immune system to kill cancer cells.

A hunt for new approaches

Despite these improvements, only a minority of patients have lasting responses to immunotherapy akin to a cure, so researchers like Routy are looking for new therapeutic approaches. Their ultimate goal is to transform an unhealthy microbiome into a healthy microbiome in order to strengthen the immune system.

Among the strategies proposed by Routy is one that uses prebiotics, chemical compounds that can improve the composition of the gut microbiome.

“To assess the beneficial effects of castalagin, we orally administered the prebiotic to mice that had received a fecal transplant from ICI-resistant patients,” he said. “We discovered that Castalagin binds to a beneficial gut bacterium, Ruminococcus bromiiand promotes an anti-cancer response.”

The discovery will soon be tested in patients thanks to the launch of the first clinical trial combining camu-camu berry and ICI. Recruitment of 45 patients with lung cancer or melanoma will begin this month at the CHUM and the Jewish General Hospital.

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Material provided by Research Center of the University of Montreal Hospital Center (CRCHUM). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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