IGEN: The microbiota or ‘second brain’, in the scientific spotlight to achieve a better prognosis of lung cancer
- “As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were delays in the diagnosis of lung tumors”
- Igen Biolab has completed the inclusion of patients in a study carried out in 25 centers in Spain
- “With probiotics, or more likely with postbiotics generated from bacterial consortia, the microbiota could be interceded to achieve a better prognosis of the disease”
- Igen Biolab Group, in its R&D laboratory in Spain, evaluates the impact that the Igen-0206 product has on the quality of life of patients with non-small cell lung cancer and has completed the inclusion of patients in a study that is carried out in 25 centers in Spain.
Madrid, September 14, 2022. Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers. More than 1.8 million people are diagnosed each year and 1.6 million of them succumb worldwide. In Spain, lung and bronchial neoplasms have been the deadliest in the first five months of 2020, with 9,143 deaths, which represents 19.4% of all deaths from cancer in the country as a whole, according to the Society Spanish of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR). In addition, it was the second national cause of death among men in the first five months of 2020, with a rate of 30 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by cases of suspected Covid-19, with a rate of 24.4 deaths. per 100,000 inhabitants, according to partial data on mortality that occurred in 2020, from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
“Lung cancer, in general, does not produce signs or symptoms in the early stages. The signs and symptoms of lung cancer usually appear when the disease is advanced. These signs and symptoms can be shortness of breath (dyspnea), new-onset cough that does not subside, cough accompanied by blood (hemoptysis), hoarseness, weight loss or bone pain”, highlights Dr. Carmen Perezagua, head of the Service of Medical Oncology of the Hospital de Henares (Madrid) and oncologist of the biotechnological company Igen Biolab Group.
The oncologist explains that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic there were delays in the diagnosis of lung tumors. “At the beginning of 2021, the Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) estimated that during the year 2020, one in five cases of cancer in Spain would have gone undiagnosed, that is, around 20%. As a consequence of these delays, patients were diagnosed at more advanced stages of their disease,” she maintains.
Igen Biolab has completed the inclusion of patients in a study carried out in 25 centers in Spain, in which it evaluates the impact of the Igen-0206 product on the quality of life and survival of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. “At the beginning of next year we hope to communicate the results”, highlighted the CEO of the company, Javier Asarta.
Latest scientific advances
The medical director of Igen, Luis Usán, maintains that “with probiotics, or more likely with postbiotics generated from bacterial consortia, the microbiota could be interceded to achieve a better prognosis of the disease”
“Several studies place the microbiota at the epicenter of lung cancer. The works support the important role of the ‘second brain’ in the onset, extension and evolution of the disease and open new avenues for early diagnosis and new treatments by regulating its function”, highlights Dr. Usán.
The first study, published in ‘Bioengineered’ and led by Wen Zeng, from the Ganzhou Cancer Hospital at Ganzhou University, focused on describing the differences between the intestinal microbiota of healthy patients and the microbiota of patients with lung adenocarcinoma. “Significant differences were evidenced in three genera of bacteria that participate in the regulation of different cellular metabolic pathways such as the pentose phosphate pathway, critical for handling DNA repair, proliferation and metastasis of tumor cells, or the glutathione pathway with antioxidant properties. , maintain or exceed cell life depending on its levels and response to former chemotherapy”, summarizes the expert.
The second work has been published in ‘Frontiers in Microbiology’. Data on the characteristics of the gut microbiome with different histopathological types of lung cancer are detailed. So they collected stool samples from 28 healthy people and 61 lung cancer patients. “In this, the characteristics were analyzed, this time of the lung microbiota and its function of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with the lung microbiota of people with other lung pathologies. They found significant differences in the characteristics and abundance of the lung microbiota, and in particular of bacteria of the genus Prevotella and Veillonella”, says Dr. Usán. And he insists: “Again, alterations were observed in metabolic pathways related to the synthesis of metabolites, ribosomes and pyrimidine as being responsible for the progression of the disease.”
Finally, the third investigation, from ‘Frontiers in Oncology’, was also carried out with stool samples from 100 participants. “In this case, the relationship between intestinal dysbiosis and the histopathological characteristics of different moments of evolution of lung cancer was analyzed. A decrease in bacteria with anti-inflammatory characteristics was observed compared to healthy subjects and an increase in proinflammatory or tumor-promoting bacteria in patients with oncological disease, these changes being greater in those affected with greater histopathological progression, which is accompanied by changes in cellular metabolic pathways”, he recalls.
The recognition of the microbiome as a new hallmark of cancer reflects a broad and rapidly evolving line of research. Microorganisms and bacteria can be directly carcinogenic, affect host immune responses to promote malignancy, and can be key points in determining the efficacy of anticancer therapy. Of the large number of known species of microorganisms and bacteria, only 11 are identified as direct human carcinogens. However, intestinal bacteria behave in certain circumstances not as direct carcinogens, but as promoters of other signs identified as characteristic marks of cancer.
Igen Biolab is a biotechnology company based in Switzerland, which has its main R&D laboratory in Spain. The company is focused on studying the impact of the microbiota in the prevention and treatment of various metabolic, autoimmune or degenerative diseases. Specifically, among other ongoing research, it is carrying out a study in 25 centers in Spain to assess the impact of the Igen-0206 product on the quality of life and survival of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
Rosana Ribera de Gracia