Professor devises a new model to treat digestive health issues

UMass Dartmouth Assistant Professor Vanni Bucci created a system to identify most effective therapies for handling stomach bacteria problems

In the attempt to treat several digestive ailments such as inflammatory or allergic diseases, doctors and scientists did not have an accurate prediction system to find the right balance of bacteria to produce a healthy gut. But now, due to the research conducted by UMass Dartmouth Assistant Professor Vanni Bucci alongside colleagues at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a prediction model exists that could yield effective tools in the quest for digestive health.

“In previous work, our collaborators and paper co-authors identified 17 different strains of bacteria that can generate the required immune response but determining the best combinations from these strains would need more than 130,000 independent experiments,” explains Bucci. To fill this gap, Bucci and the team of researchers created a model that uses available data to predict which bacteria are helpful to treat various stomach ailments.

Using the model in a trial on mice, researchers were able to predict the most effective treatment to return the test stomachs to optimal health through colonizing certain bacteria. To measure the accuracy of their model, the team tested five different strains of bacteria in germ-free mice. It was proven that the bacterial combinations with the highest scores generated more immune cells and helped to colonize a more healthy gut.

The predictive model could be a significant aid in developing therapies for people suffering from wide-ranging digestive issues. To read the full study, please click here.


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