April 18, 2005 (Malvern, PA) - An EU-funded project designed to evaluate whether synbiotics can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer has found that Raftilose®Synergy1 combined with probiotics does have a positive effect. The Syncan Program was coordinated by ORAFTI, the producer of Raftilose® Synergy 1.
Colorectal cancer currently accounts for approximately 500,000* deaths across the world per year and has been linked with a diet rich in fat, refined carbohydrates and animal proteins combined with low physical activity.
Dr. Anne Franck, Executive Vice President of Science and Technology, ORAFTI Group said: “The Syncan Program demonstrates that Raftilose® Synergy 1 incorporated in a synbiotic can help protect against colorectal cancer in humans. It was particularly effective in those who have had intestinal polyps removed. This is great news for those at risk of colon cancer and marks a major breakthrough in understanding how ingredients in our food can deliver genuine health benefits.”
The Syncan Program is the first project to feature a set of trials to study the potential effects of prebiotics and probiotics on cancer risk. The study consisted of 80 volunteers who were divided in two groups - those who have suffered from pre-cancerous lesions and those who have previously been treated for colon cancer. Half of each group was given a placebo and the other half a synbiotic every day for 12 weeks.
The synbiotic ingredients combined a prebiotic, ORAFTI’s Raftilose® Synergy 1, with two probiotics, Lactobacillus LGG and Bifidobacterium BB12.
Intestinal biopsies as well as blood and stool samples were taken at the start and finish of the trial and were examined by specialists to identify changes in the cells, the volunteers’ immunity, the gut flora composition and the fecal water, which contains substances that can be damaging to the cells of the colon.
Significant reduced cell DNA damage
The results of the research show that by taking a synbiotic each day, the damage to cell DNA can be significantly reduced. This is important as cancer develops as a result of high levels of damaged cells that the body can no-longer control and destroy on a normal basis. The study highlighted that cancer patients receiving the synbiotic treatment had a dramatic reduction in levels of DNA damage - 60% less than the damage found in the placebo group.
The study also highlighted that cell proliferation rates or rates at which (damaged) cells multiply, were also significantly reduced, down to levels found in non-cancer or low-risk individuals.
Furthermore, synbiotics were found to protect the cells from potentially damaging substances that occur in the lower digestive tract. The study has also confirmed that it is possible to positively change the composition of the gut flora in a few weeks.
The Syncan project, along with other trials, demonstrates that Raftilose® Synergy 1, incorporated in a synbiotic, can help to protect against colorectal cancer in humans.
Raftilose® Synergy 1
Raftilose® Synergy 1 is an enriched inulin-composition patented by ORAFTI. It is a unique combination that contains a specific distribution of carefully selected chain lengths of inulin and oligofructose. Earlier studies have proven that 8g/day of Raftilose® Synergy 1 provides a substantial increase of more than 20% of the absorbed calcium from our daily diet.
The world’s largest supplier of inulin and oligofructose and a leader in the fields of applications development, process technologies and nutritional research, Orafti offers food, beverage and nutraceutical manufacturers the broadest product lines available. Orafti operates in more than 70 countries worldwide. For more information, contact Orafti, 101 Lindenwood Drive, Malvern, PA 19355 or visit www.orafti.com.
*Figure from the World Health Organization, April 2003
Additional Scientific Information:
The Human Intervention Study
A central feature of the SYNCAN project was a human dietary intervention trial, the first project to study the potential anti-cancer effects of prebiotics and probiotics using a wide range of biomarkers.
The double-blind randomised placebo-controlled study involved 80 people who either had intestinal polyps (precancerous lesions) removed or had been treated for colon cancer. Half of each group was given a placebo and the other half a synbiotic (12g/day Raftilose®Synergy1 and probiotics Bifidobacterium bifidum BB12 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG). The trial volunteers consumed either the synbiotic or placebo every day for 12 weeks. Tissue, blood and feces samples were taken before, during and after the trial. These samples were then examined by specialist teams to identify changes and differences between the groups.
The following are some of the key findings:
• In people with a high risk of colon cancer, the results show that the group receiving the synbiotic treatment had significantly decreased damage to their cells’ DNA, compared with those who consumed the placebo.
• In addition, the people with colon cancer had an enhanced immune response, producing more interferon gamma which has antiviral activity and helps to avoid proliferation of potentially damaging cells.
• Cell proliferation of epithelial cells was reduced in the group taking synbiotics.
• Synbiotics were also shown to protect the cells from potentially damaging substances which occur in the lower digestive tract and to reduce exposure to these substances from fecal water.
The study also demonstrated a clear bifidogenic and prebiotic effect following consumption of the synbiotic, confirming that it is possible to change positively the composition of the gut flora during long-term intervention, in this case 12 weeks.
Commenting on their findings the researchers said: “There were strong indications for a preventative action of the synbiotic combination, especially in the polypectomised patients where mainly mucosal markers indicated an increased protection against carcinogenesis. Immunological markers were also affected. In the cancer patients a positive effect on DNA damage was seen in the synbiotic group.”