Gut microbes may be a vital link to understanding cancer

The microbiome consists of microbes, which are millions of tiny organisms that include bacteria and fungi. For the most part, microbes are symbiotic, so both humans and microbiota benefit from the relationship. In less frequent cases, there are pathogenic microbes that promote illness. Scientists have barely scratched the surface in understanding how microbes interact with human cells.

That being said, researchers are beginning to incorporate the microbiome in cancer development and prevention studies in order to gain a clearer insight into the disease.

The Role of Microbes in our Bodies

Microbiomes are a complex community of microbes that can have multiple roles within our bodies. Microbes can protect us against pathogens, reinforce our immune system, process nutrients, and produce chemicals that influence our cellular functions.

Extensive research, according to The National Cancer Institute, has shown that microbes can actually slow the development of cancer cells and influence the way our bodies react to anticancer therapies. These two crucial points of knowledge may one day lead to us preventing and treating cancer as well as other diseases. 

Researchers were able to determine this information through advanced genome technology, which allows scientists to analyze microbial DNA and determine its interactions with the bodies and its diseases. Interestingly, microbes are susceptible to change through our daily life choices such as diet and living environments. Cancer, through means such as inflammation and tumor development, can also change the composition of the microbiome. 

Future Findings and Exploration 

Researchers will continue to investigate the genes and chemicals present in microbiome in order to gain a deeper understanding of the biological functions. Furthermore, researchers will work to learn more about how human cells and microbes communicate with each other. 

Learning more about the relationships between microbiomes, human cells, and cancer can help clinicians identify new and more effective treatments for every patient. There is no clear sign of what we will discover as we further explore the human microbiome, but it could very well unveil some pivotal information in cancer development and patient care.


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