Hottest New Cancer Drugs Depend on Gut Microbes

February 25, 2016

Hottest New Cancer Drugs Depend on Gut Microbes


The human microbiome has finally come of age. Thanks to ground breaking research trillions of bacteria and other microbes that have shared our bodies for centuries can no longer be ignored. These bacteria have the ability to train and calibrate our immune systems. 

Some bacteria are more important than others. Scientists have shown cancer drugs can mobilize the immune system to kill tumors, but only in the presence of the right gut microbes. Certain species of bacteria are especially potent at driving anti-tumor immunity. 

A recent study demonstrated the greater the numbers of Bacteroides fragilis found in the gut, the smaller the skin cancer tumors. In another study, Bifidobacterium boosted the ability to control melanoma tumors. Although both studies were done in mice, it might help explain why some patients respond surprisingly well to treatment while others do not. The lucky few may harbor gut microbes making these drugs more effective. 

If this is true, it may be possible to sequence a patient's microbiome and calculate how likely they are to respond to current therapies. If their odds are low, physicians may prescribe B. frag, Bifido, other immune-stimulating microbes or even a fecal transplant from a patient known to be responding well to the drugs. 


If you're interested in growing Bifidobacterium, try our Modified Columbia Agar (MCA) plates.


For Bacteroides, try our OxyPRAS Plus KVL, KVL/BBE Bi-Plates or BBE plates.


Full article published November 5, 2015 in the Atlantic: The Hottest New Cancer Drugs Depend on Gut Microbes. 


For 29 citations on Google Scholar see: "Oxyrase" and "Microbiome".  

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