A new super protective probiotic for IBD


This study is looking at the role of bacteria in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.


At the end of this project we shall be in a position to generate a ‘super-protective’ strain of Bifidobacteria and prepare it for test in patients with IBD.

Dr Lindsay J Hall, Norwich Medical School
University of East Anglia

What did this research look at?

People with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis have a different make-up of the

bacteria living in their gut compared to healthy people. Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, offer a potentially safe treatment option for people with Crohn’s and Colitis, but varying results have been seen in clinical trials.

In active Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, inflammation damages the cells that line the gut allowing microbes and toxins to enter, further advancing the disease.

Bifidobacterium is a beneficial gut bacteria that helps protects the cells lining the gut from damage caused by inflammation. People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease have less of this bacteria in their gut compared to healthy people. The researchers also developed a new technique for screening bacteria. Other researchers will be able to use this technique to identify bacteria with similar protective properties to Bifidobacterium. Finding these bacteria could lead to more potential treatment options for people with Crohn’s and Colitis.

This research project aimed to identify how Bifidobacterium protects the gut from inflammation.


The researchers identified many properties of Bifidobacterium that allow it to protect against inflammation. Most importantly they found that Bifidobacterium releases a number of biological compounds that can reduce inflammation.

What do researchers think this could this mean for people with IBD?

The researchers hope this project will lead to new treatments for people with Crohn’s and Colitis. They plan to continue this research by developing treatments that target the compounds released by Bifidobacterium as a way to reduce the damaging effects of inflammation in people with Crohn’s and Colitis.

Who is leading the research: Dr Lindsay J Hall, Quadram Institute Bioscience

Our Funding: £119,018 (£68k funded by donation from Rick Parfitt Jr Foundation)

Duration: 24 months

Official title of the application: Identification of the structural and molecular components of Bifidobacteria that have epithelial protective effects: Towards development of effective bacterial therapy for IBD

Tags: Bacteria / Probiotics