Gut bacteria have been associated with a number of immune diseases and treatment of diverse medical conditions. A new study presented at the National Cancer Research Institute’s (NCRI) Cancer conference in Liverpool has highlighted the role of gut bacteria with cancer immuno-therapy treatment.
The study presented by scientists at the University of Texas and Anderson Cancer Center investigated over 200 mouth and over 100 gut microbiome samples from cancer patients diagnosed with advanced melanoma. Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer, with approximately 14,600 people diagnosed in the UK. Approximately 2,300 dies each from the disease.
Patients who responded to immuno-therapy had more diverse gut bacteria with significant differences in the type of bacteria than the patients who did not respond to cancer therapy.
“Gut microbes have been shown to influence the role of conventional chemotherapy, so it’s probably not surprising that they impact on response to new immuno-therapies being used in the clinic, said Dr Pippa Corrie.
This study represents one of the first studies to examine the link between cancer immuno-therapy and its impact based on gut bacteria. The immuno-therapy is based on using the body’s immune system to target cancer cells. Adapting gut bacteria, through antibiotics, probiotics or a fecal transplant before immuno-therapy could significant increase the benefits associated with new immuno-therapy drugs currently used to treat different types of cancer.
“There is growing evidence that gut bacteria play a vital role in warding off disease, absorbing nutrients from the food we eat, and maintaining normal function of our immune systems”, said Dr Pippa Corrie, Chair of the NCRI’s Skin Cancer Clinical Studies Group. Gut microbes have been shown to influence the role of conventional chemotherapy, so it’s probably not surprising that they impact on response to new immuno-therapies being used in the clinic. Manipulating the gut flora may be a new strategy to enhance activity of immuno-therapy drugs, as well as to manage problematic toxicity in the future.”