Intestinal Bacteria Could Help Win War against Cancer

Bacteria found in the intestines/gut could help combat some forms of cancer by slowing or completely stopping them on their tracks, new research indicates.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have published a report that states some gut bacteria could help treat some forms of cancer. The bacteria contain high anti-inflammatory agents which slow down the growth and development of cancerous cells.   

Gut or intestinal bacteria are known to have both good as well as bad effects in the human body. The bad bacteria can cause inflammation, influence or slow down the metabolic processes and encourage obesity. The good bacteria have anti-inflammatory properties and help prevent some ailments.cancer-fighting-bacteria

According to Robert Schiestl, lead author, and professor of pathology, radiation oncology and environmental health sciences at UCLA, a specific intestinal bacterium has shown to have good anti-inflammatory properties that can kill or stop cancerous cells.

The human body contains more bacterial cells compared to the human cells. 10 trillion is the number of bacterial type while human cells are approximately 1 million, and considering that some of the bacteria cause more-harm-than-good, the immune system will have a hard time protecting the body against infections and diseases.

In the study, Schiestl in collaboration with his colleagues identified a bacterium known as Lactobacillus johnsonii 456. It is one of the common and beneficial bacteria found in the guts, and some of its uses outside the human body include fermenting milk, or making yogurt, kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut.

The study was based on an earlier one by Schiestl which wanted to show the link between gut microbiota and lymphoma cancer which usually attacks the immune system first. By stopping the cancer while it is in its early stages it would be possible to stop it from spreading.

The UCLA researchers identified mice that were already affected by cancer where the ATM gene had already mutated. Two groups were formed with the first one given anti-inflammatory bacteria while the other was provided with both inflammatory as well as anti-inflammatory microbes.

The conclusions found in the Cancer Research Report indicated that the progression of lymphoma was much slower in mice given the pure form of gut bacteria compared to those that were given impure bacteria that contained both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory gut microbes.

Final word from Dr. Robert Schiestl is that maybe doctors should aim at analyzing the types and level of the bacteria in the gut so as to know the extent and also the kind of probiotics to prescribe.