Certain bacteria in the gut can be helpful when someone has cancer, Elizabeth Tracey reports


You have more bacteria in your gut than you have cells in your body, and they provide you a range of benefits. Now new research demonstrates that for some people with pancreas cancer, their bacteria produce a chemical that seems to help them respond better to treatment. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Nelson: They looked at the bacteria from the intestines of folks who had pancreatic cancer. They used some DNA sequencing tactics to figure out all the bacteria that were there. Then they also did a look at all the things the bacteria were making. From this they found a particular metabolite, indole-3-acetic acid, that seemed to be more common in people with pancreatic cancer who responded to the chemotherapy used to treat that pancreatic cancer. For many people it doesn’t really work at all. In this case they found that this particular metabolite was enriched in the people who did respond.  :34

It's not known if supplementing this chemical would be helpful. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.