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19th May 2023  Content supplied by: Austrianova

Austrianova and San Raffaele Hospital Work on Bacteria Delivery to Stop Multiple Myeloma Progression

The group of Dr. Matteo Bellone, group leader Cellular Immunology Unit at San Raffaele University & Research Hospital, has shown that Prevotella melaninogenica, a commensal bacterium of the human gastrointestinal microbiota, can protect against the progression of relatively benign asymptomatic multiple myeloma to the aggressive form of the disease. Delivery of Prevotella melaninogenica in preclinical animal models prevents this progression but large doses of the bacteria are needed since they must survive passage through the strongly acidic environment of the stomach.1

Austrianova, a Singaporean biotech company, has developed its patented Bac-in-a-Box® technology specifically to efficiently protect bacteria from stomach acid as well as to allow storage at room temperature without appreciable loss of viability.2

In multiple myeloma, malignant plasma cells accumulate in bone marrow — the soft, spongy tissue at the centre of bones — crowding out the normal plasma cells that help fight infection. It usually presents at an asymptomatic stage (also known as smouldering/indolent) and around 50% of patients go on to develop symptomatic disease and need treatment within 5 years of initial diagnosis.

This collaboration builds on San Raffaele Hospital’s dedication to technology transfer, the process of partnering with industry to successfully translate research results into medical benefits.

Dr. Bellone said: “Most patients affected by smouldering myeloma live in anxiety because they know the disease may easily evolve into an untreatable phase, but they are offered no preventive cure. It is unexpected that a treatment as simple as taking a probiotic positively impacts disease progression in animal models and might indeed help these patients. We are eager to test Austrianova technology in our models. This will be the first step to the clinic.”

Prof. Walter H. Gunzburg, Chairman of Austrianova, stated: “The Austrianova team is excited to be working with our colleagues at San Raffaele hospital to progress this strategy for hampering the full progression of this devastating blood cancer.  Our Bac-in-a-Box® technology is ideally suited to efficiently store and deliver bacteria to the gastric tract and we look forward to applying it to the delivery of Prevotella melaninogenica to hopefully prevent progression of multiple myeloma in patients.”

Discover more about encapsulation of probiotic bacteria and yeast for stomach acid protection and ambient storage, visit

1. Calcinotto A, Brevi A, Chesi M, Ferrarese R, Garcia Perez L, Grioni M, et al. Microbiota-driven interleukin-17-producing cells and eosinophils synergize to accelerate multiple myeloma progression. Nat Commun 2018;9:4832.

2. Walter H Gunzburg, Myo Myint Aung, Pauline Toa, Shirelle Ng, Eliot Read, Wee Jin Tan, Eva Maria Brandtner, John Dangerfield, Brian Salmons. Efficient protection of microorganisms for delivery to the intestinal tract by cellulose sulphate encapsulation. Microbial Cell Fact. 2020 Nov 26;19:216. doi: 10.1186/s12934-020-01465-3.

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Date Published: 19th May 2023

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