“I think it’s essential that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”
A study looking at the effect of non digestible carbohydrates on bowel cells (DISC study)
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This study was done to see how non digestible carbohydrates affect healthy bowel cells and whether they can help prevent bowel cancer.
More about this trial
Non digestible carbohydrates (NDCs) include resistant starch and polydextrose. The body cannot digest or absorb these forms of carbohydrate. But healthy bacteria in the bowel can break them down (ferment them) into other substances. These include acetate, butyrate and propionate.
Research has shown that these substances can help prevent bowel cancer in a number of different ways.
Butyrate has been shown to help regulate growth of bowel cells, and reduce inflammation. It may also help regulate a series of reactions in the cells called the Wnt pathway. The Wnt pathway is often over active in bowel cancer cells.
The research team took tissue samples (biopsies) from the lining of the bowel. They looked at the genetic material (DNA) in the cells, to see if there were any changes.
They also took samples of poo (stool) and measured the amount of a protein called calprotectin. The level of calprotectin is usually higher if the lining of the bowel is inflamed or damaged.
Researchers doing this study wanted to find out whether NDCs could affect the Wnt pathway and help prevent bowel cancer.
Summary of results
- Group 1 had had dummy (placebo) powder
- Group 2 had resistant starch powder
- Group 3 had polydextrose powder
- Group 4 resistant starch and polydextrose powder
- 22 had the placebo
- 22 had resistant starch
- 23 had polydextrose
- 21 had resistant starch and polydextrose
The research team looked at the level of calprotectin in the stool samples, and found there was little difference between the groups. Neither resistant starch or polydextrose (or a combination of the two) affected calprotectin levels.
- more than usual of 33
- less than usual of 78
How to join a clinical trial
Professor John Mathers
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
University of Newcastle