Bovine protein called lactoferrin aids in treatment of gastrointestinal disorder

Recent evidence suggests that therapy currently used to treat Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, a major cause of upper gastrointestinal disorders, is unsuccessful in around 25 percent of cases.

A new study, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, finds that adding a bovine protein called lactoferrin to the existing treatment may yield more effective results, with fewer of the side effects associated with common antibiotic treatment.

Lactoferrin has previously been found to be effective at inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and reducing the side effects of antibiotics, respectively, but the new study marks the first time that they have been used together to treat H. pylori. The study found that the infection-causing bacterium was eliminated in more patients treated with the traditional therapy plus lactoferrin than with the existing treatments and may be used without risk of resistance.

"Various studies are under way to evaluate new antibiotics and different therapeutic methods to increase the efficacy of H. pylori therapy," says lead author Nicola de Bortoli, M.D., Ph.D., adding that data suggest that antibiotic resistance is frequent and clinicians are realizing that use of an additional agent may be necessary for therapy."

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