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Scientists have found a connection between bacteria in the gut and antitumor immune responses in the liver. Their study, published May 25 in Science, was led by researchers in the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It showed that bacteria found in the gut of mice affect the liver’s antitumor immune function. The findings have implications for understanding the mechanisms that lead to liver cancer and for therapeutic approaches to treat them. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“What we found using different tumor models is that if you treat mice with antibiotics and thereby deplete certain bacteria, you can change the composition of immune cells of the liver, affecting tumor growth in the liver,” said Tim Greten, M.D., of NCI’s CCR, who led the study. “This is a great example of how what we learn from basic research can give us insight into cancer and possible treatments.”

The microbiome is the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in or on the body. In humans, the greatest proportion of the body’s total microbiome is in the gut. Despite extensive research into the relationship between the gut microbiome and cancer,

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