March 6, 2018 – Two Bugs
Anchor lead: Two bacteria teaming up may lead to colon cancer in some, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Bacteria in your gut are back in the news with a study by Cynthia Sears and colleagues at Johns Hopkins, showing that in some cases of colon cancer, when two strains work together, malignancy can result. Sears says these bugs form something called a biofilm right next to the cells of the colon, where each releases a chemical that promotes cancer formation.
Sears: Hopefully what we can do is identify ways to be sure the bacteria are there first, and then develop ways to either develop immunity against those bacteria so they’re not so successful in colonizing and changing tissue, or maybe we can develop select ways to sort of knock them out of the microbiome. We don’t think that removing just those two bacteria would actually impede the good parts of the microbiome that we need for our health. :29
Sears says for now, she doesn’t advocate for individual analysis of the range of bacteria in the gut until more is known. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.