Harnessing the microbiome could power up CAR T cancer therapies

Published: 30 July 2021

A preclinical study suggests that gut bacteria metabolites could boost CAR T cell therapy.

The research, conducted by 4D Pharma in collaboration with the Philipps-University Marburg and Universitätsklinikum Würzburg, Germany, was published this month in Nature Communications

The researchers demonstrated that the bacterium Megasphaera massiliensis, or its short chain fatty acid (SCFA) metabolite pentanoate, enhanced the activity of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and CAR T therapies in mouse models.

“Collectively, these results suggest that low-abundant commensal bacterial species such as M. massiliensis and their selective metabolites such as pentanoate, rather than broadly distributed and abundant commensals, may be used as specific microbial biotherapeutics to enhance anti-tumor immunity and increase the efficacy of CAR-T therapy for treating tumors,” commented co-author of the paper, Alexander Visekruna of the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene at Philipps-University Marburg, in a press release. “Combined therapies including immune checkpoint inhibitors or CAR-T and simultaneous provision of low-abundant bacteria synthesizing specific metabolites as an adjunctive agent may be therapeutically useful.”

4D Pharma identified M. massiliensis using its MicroRx platform, which interrogates a proprietary library of bacterial isolates for therapeutic functionality. 

Source: Nature Communications