the role of The microbiota in The colon cancer is one of the malignancies with the highest incidence in the western world and represents 9.4% of all cancers in men and 10.1% in women. It has an incidence in the Italian population of approximately 34,000 new cases a year, and develops most often in the colon (about 70% of cases) and less frequently in the rectum (30%). It was already known that the intestinal microbiota plays an active role in the development of cancer of the colon and rectum, but has now been made a step forward: “so Far, were only identified bacteria that promote the formation of cancers, but we now have discovered for the first time the existence of a strain of bacteria protective,” says Maria Rescigno , Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Immunology of the mucosa and the Microbiota of Humanitas and professor of Humanitas University.
The discovery of the bacterium good
“By the microbiota of patients in an early stage of tumor development in the intestine, the so-called adenoma - explains the coordinator of the study, we observed the absence of a family of bacteria, called Erysipelotrichaceae. By isolating these bacteria, we have found anticancer properties capable of blocking the proliferation uncontrolled cell, which instead happens in the event of their absence”. “In particular, " continues Rescigno - we have seen that when you begin to form and the tumor cell, also changes the composition of mucus in the intestine and this makes the environment unfavorable for some bacteria, and favorable for others, including us, are also protective. They are precisely those that are missing in patients with adenoma”. The check of the microbiota for early diagnosis
What it means in practice for the patient? The first potential implication is to open new roads to the early diagnosis in patients at risk of developing these tumors. “The fact that the microbiota detected in the faeces, not present in this family of bacteria continues Rescigno – it is extremely important for the early diagnosis of the disease in patients with adenoma, advanced”. Then in the future, as an indication of the presence of an adenoma, you could use the absence of this bacterium in the mucus of the intestine. How to evaluate? “Already today there are - clarifies Rescigno - methods of analysis of the microbiota, however, are a completely different matter and cannot be considered a diagnostic tool. In perspective, you can think of for hospitals to develop a model of early diagnosis based on the presence or absence of this bacterium”.
A probiotic to return the bacterium that is missing
This discovery can be a starting point for new cures? “You reply, " Rescigno. For these patients you might think to reduce the risk by returning the bacterium in the form of a probiotic but bearing in mind that each probiotic has a specific function and that you will need to develop a dietary supplement that contains the strain missing that, however, is not easy to take to the bed of the patient because it is difficult to grow and keep alive, but it is said that with the modern technologies are not able to find a solution,” concludes the expert.
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