Sunday, January 07, 2018

The bacteria in your gut may save your life

Enterococcus faecium
Having the right balance between good and bad microbes in the gut may improve the likelihood that immunotherapy successfully treats melanoma, which is the most aggressive and dangerous form of skin cancer, according to new research.
This was the conclusion that researchers from the University of Chicago, IL, came to after they found much higher levels of specific bacteria in the stool samples of people with melanoma who responded to immunotherapy, compared with those who did not respond to the treatment.

Among the "good" gut bacteria that the team found to be abundant in those individuals who responded to "PD-1 blockade" immunotherapy were Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium longum, and Collinsella aerofaciens.

The scientists found that having higher levels of these strains of bacteria in the gut seemed to increase penetration of immune system T cells into the microenvironment of tumors and boost their ability to kill cancer cells.
This is certainly good news, but what do you do with it? Do you go out in the backyard and eat dirt?

Well, the researchers have thought about that.
They now want to test whether or not probiotics might boost immunotherapy and are planning a clinical trial using Bifidobacteria.

They also want to produce a longer list of the gut bacteria that help and hinder cancer patients and work out how the microbes interact with the immune system's ability to control cancer.
I'd skip the dirt right now. For one thing most melanomas are caused by sunlight. However, you can always eat dog food. They often add Enterococcus faecium to it to aid digestion. Your call.

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