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GUT BUG AND CANCER

ANCHOR LEAD: CAN AN ORGANISM FOUND IN THE INTESTINE CAUSE COLON CANCER?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

One particular strain of a common gut-dwelling bacterium called Bacterioides fragilis may be important in the formation of colon tumors, research by Cynthia Sears, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues has shown.  Does this imply that changing the resident bacterial population, or gut flora, with things like probiotics can reduce the risk?  Sears comments.

SEARS:  Probiotic literature is expansive, its complex, and actually probiotics are an extremely complex topic.  They are very very different product to product, not very regulated, so it’s hard to understand what people are taking in many instances.  Nonetheless, whether it is eliminating this organism or changing to overall composition of the floral that may improve colon health remains to be seen.   :26

Sears says much more research will be needed before adopting such a strategy to reduce colon cancer risk and recommends screening colonscopy in the meantime.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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