Fecal transplants show promise in improving melanoma treatment
Source: Science Daily, July 2023
In a world-first clinical trial published in the journal Nature Medicine, a multi-centre study from Lawson Health Research Institute, the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) has found fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) from healthy donors are safe and show promise in improving response to immunotherapy in patients with advanced melanoma.
Immunotherapy drugs stimulate a person’s immune system to attack and destroy cancer. While they can significantly improve survival outcomes in those with melanoma, they are only effective in 40 to 50 per cent of patients. Preliminary research has suggested that the human microbiome — the diverse collection of microbes in our body — may play a role in whether or not a patient responds.
“In this study, we aimed to improve melanoma patients’ response to immunotherapy by improving the health of their microbiome through fecal transplants," says Dr. John Lenehan, Medical Oncologist at London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP), Associate Scientist at Lawson and Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.