Bacteria living in the human digestive system have been studied by U.S. and French researchers to influence whether cancer tumors shrink during therapy. Published in the Science journal, two studies have linked the effectiveness of immunotherapy drugs with the overall diversity and specific species of the microbiome. Both the studies had focused on patients receiving immunotherapy, which helps the body to fight tumors by boosting its defenses. While it may not work for all patients, it could even clear terminal cancer in some cases.
The Society for Applied Microbiology president, Mark Fielder has said that microbiome manipulation could be important in changing the health of people, although the microbiome may not be the answer to everything. This research is a step toward identifying people who could respond to immunotherapies when treating cancer, said Cancer Research UK’s Dr. Emma Smith.
Patients with Richer, More Diverse Microbiome Responded Better to Therapy
Tissues samplings had revealed more cancer-killing immune cells in the tumor of people having beneficial bacteria. Researchers then transplanted human fecal matter in a process called trans-poo-sion to mice with melanoma. Mice that were given bacteria from patients having a good bacteria mix showed a slower growth of tumors compared to those given bad bacteria.
Texan, Dr. Jennifer Wargo has said that the microbiome could be game-changing for overall health and not just for cancer. Patients could respond better if a more favorable microbiome is changed to. Wargo’s clinical trials will be directed toward changing the microbiome in tandem with cancer treatment.