Gut microbiome could influence response to cancer treatment

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When [cancer] drugs work, the immune system tramples tumors into oblivion. But they don’t always work—in fact, cancer drugs can fail 60 to 70 percent of the time. The drugs might not give the immune system a sharp enough sticking in every patient. But according to a pair of new studies, it may not be the immune system that needs a swift kick—it may be the gut.

[R]esearchers found that the cancer patients who saw no benefit from the drugs (non-responders) were the ones who lacked certain beneficial gut bugs, particularly after taking antibiotics. Meanwhile, cancer patients who did respond to the drugs had bacteria that could prompt the immune system to release chemicals that get cancer-killing immune cells—T cells—to chomp at the bit. When the researchers transferred the gut microbes from their human cancer patients into germ-free mice with cancer, the rodents mirrored the patients’ fates.

“Our studies in patients and subsequent mouse research really drive home that our gut microbiomes modulate both systemic and anti-tumor immunity.” […] according to Jennifer Wargo, a surgical oncologist.

“You can change your microbiome,” she added. “It’s really not that difficult, so we think these findings open up huge new opportunities.”

[Studies can be found here and here.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Gut bacteria may make or break your chances of cancer treatment working