Bacteria in the Gut and Colon Cancer


Research published in the May/June issue of the journal Gut Microbes suggests that a shift in the balance of the good and bad bacteria in the gut could be associated with colon cancer. Using molecular methods that have evolved to the point where all bacteria in the gut can be identified and characterized the researchers studied biopsies from 45 patients undergoing colonoscopies. They found that there was a higher bacterial diversity and richness in individuals found to have adenomas than in those without these colorectal cancer precursors. A particular group called Proteobacteria was higher than in the controls but it is not clear whether these follow the development of the adenoma or were the cause of the adenoma. Further research is planned in animal models to see if these or other bacteria promote cancer growth. Additional samples from up to 600 patients will be analyzed. The researchers stated “What a great way to address colon cancer–you could know your risk and lower it by eating your yogurt every day.”

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