Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the bowel. Usually Inflammatory Bowel Disease shows up as either Ulcerative Colitis or the potentially more serious Crohn’s Disease(neither is a cakewalk though). A new study by Northwestern University took a common probiotic(L. Acidophilus) & genetically modified it so that it lacked the gene “phosphoglycerol esterase” which normally causes inflammation in the gut. The probiotic was given to mice who had two different types of colitis. After a 13-day treatment the mice were almost completely free of inflammation and their disease was halted by up to 95%. The modified probiotic apparently works by acting as a calming agent on the autoimmune system so that it stops attacking the gut.Associate Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Mansour Mohamadzadeh had this to say about the findings:

This opens brand new avenues to treat various autoimmune diseases of the gut, including inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer, all which can be triggered by imbalanced inflammatory immune responses[.]

The results have not been tested on humans yet and some people may be hesitant about taking a genetically modified organism, though I am sure those who have dealt with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease for long enough probably wouldn’t care where it came from, so long as it worked. This may also open doors for those with other kinds of digestive problems such as those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or even Colon Cancer.

Unfortunately there is no word on when a human study may take place or when we might see this modified probiotic on store shelves.