Gut bacteria ‘boost’ cancer therapy
Bacteria living in the murky depths of the digestive system seem to influence whether tumours shrink during cancer therapy, say French and US researchers.
They tested the microbiome – the collection of microscopic species that live in us – in cancer patients. Two studies, in the journal Science: Gut bugs ‘help prevent allergies’ and Parkinson’s disease ‘may start in gut’ linked specific species and the overall diversity of the microbiome to the effectiveness of immunotherapy drugs. Experts said the results were fascinating and held a lot of promise. Our bodies are home to trillions of micro-organisms and the relationship between “us” and “them” goes far beyond infectious diseases. The microbiome is involved in digestion, protection from infection and regulating the immune system.
Both studies were on patients receiving immunotherapy, which boosts the body’s own defences to fight tumours. It does not work in every patient, but in some cases it can clear even terminal cancer. BBC News