Novel Gut Bacteria Shows Promise in Crohn Disease, Ulcerative Colitis


A combination of 2 bacteria were able to stay in the colon for an extended amount of time, rather than passing through the system quickly like other probiotics.

A consortium of bacteria designed to complement missing or underrepresented functions in the imbalanced microbiome of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was found to prevent and treat chronic immune-mediated colitis, according to a study published in Nature Communications.

The live bacteria consortia, called GUT-103 and GUT-108, were developed by a biotechnology firm. GUT-103 is comprised of 17 strains of bacteria that work together to protect and feed each other, whereas GUT-108 is a refined version that uses 11 human isolates related to the 17 strains. These combinations allow the bacteria to stay in the colon for an extended amount of time, as opposed to other probiotics that pass through the system quickly, according to the study authors.

“The idea with this treatment is to restore the normal function of the protective bacteria in the gut, targeting the source of IBD, instead of treating its symptoms with traditional immunosuppressants that can cause side effects like infections or tumors,” said senior author Balfour Sartor, MD, in the press release.

In the study, GUT-103 and GUT-108 were administered orally 3 times per week to mice with no bacteria present that had been specially developed and treated with specific human bacteria, creating a humanized mouse model. The therapeutic bacteria worked by addressing upstream targets, rather than targeting a single cytokine to block downstream inflammation responses and reversed established inflammation.

“It also decreased pathobionts—bacteria that can cause harm—while expanding resident protective bacteria, and produced metabolites promoting mucosal healing and immunoregulatory responses,” Sartor said in the press release. “Simply put, the treatment increased the good guys and decreased the bad guys.”

Based on these study results and the need for more alternative therapies for Crohn disease, Sartor said he would like to see GUT-103 and GUT-108 studied in phase 1 and 2 clinical trials.


‘Good’ Bacteria Show Promise for Clinical Treatment of Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis [news release]. UNC Health; May 28, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2021.

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