A woman's stomach with her hands making a heart shape.

The microbiome is a fascinating and incredible area of growing research. Science is now focusing on the role which bacteria play in many diseases and ailments. Majority of our immune system resides within the gut and because of this, knowledge of Gut Health is proving to be essential in the prevention of many diseases. 

Today we discuss the connection between Gut bacteria and colon cancer. Colon cancer was expected to claim the lives of over 50,000 people in 2018 alone. The John Hopkins medical center is conducting valuable research in this area. Here is a piece of their article regarding colon cancer and gut bacteria: 

Cynthia Sears, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and member of its Kimmel Cancer Center, studies the role of the microbiome in causing colon cancer in mice and humans. Colon cancer seems to stem from an interaction among the microbiome, the immune system and epithelial cells that line the colon.

The surface of colon tumors with (right) and without (left) layers of bacteria growing on top.

Sears’ lab is using mice to study one kind of human colonic bacteria that may be a bad actor, enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF). ETBF makes three types of a protein called the Bacteroides fragilis toxin (BFT); one of which, BFT2, has greater carcinogenic potential and is common in humans. The protein sets off a huge array of actions in the epithelial cells that line the colon. In certain mice, it can cause inflammation and cancer of the colon. Sears’ group is now trying to figure out what the receptor is that enables the protein to interact with epithelial cells. Finding that, she says, “may open our eyes to how cancer begins in the colonic epithelial cells.”

While we still don’t and likely won’t have exact ties between specific bacteria and acute conditions, one thing is obvious; we must prioritize the ecosystem of the Gut and maintain the integrity of the immune system if we wish to prevent disease. 

(full link to article can be found below)

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https://www.hopkinsmedicine.or…Full article