November 3, 2016 – Bad Microbiome


Anchor lead:  What role does your gut bacteria play in colon cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many millions of organisms live in you and on you, and now a subset of those is being studied to assess their role in causing colon cancer.  Francis Giardiello, a gastroenterologist and colon cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the interaction of some of these bugs to produce a kind of sheet of cells that adhere to the gut lining.

Giardiello: The microbiome is the collection of bacteria and viruses and microorganisms that populate a particular area of the body. What we’re interested in is the microbiome of the colon.  There are really two components to it.  The first are the bacteria that are floating through the colon with the stool, but then there’s another component.  And that is the bacteria that are stuck to the wall of the colon.  And these we call biofilms. Our concern is that these biofilms play a role in the development of colorectal cancer.   :32

Giardiello says biofilms are often seen when cancerous growths are removed from the colon.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.