4. The American Study
A similar situation unfolded in Texas at the Anderson Cancer Center. In this case, 112 patients suffering from advanced stages of melanoma were the participants. Like their counterparts in France, the patients had their microbiomes examined along with the immunotherapy treatment. It was found that the patients who responded best to the treatment had a more diverse array of bacteria in their gut compared to those participants who had not responded to treatment. Ultimately, the evidence suggested that high levels of Faecalibacterium and Clostridiales helped with the immunotherapy; on the other hand, Bacteroidales species seemed to inhibit the immunotherapy benefits.
3. What’s Happening
According to tissue samples from the patients, there was a higher presence of immune cells in the tumors of people who had significant levels of beneficial bacteria. These immune cells were actively killing the cancer. In order to test this theory initially, sets of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria were transferred to two sets of melanoma-bearing mice. For the mice who received a diverse mix of bacteria including Faecalibacterium and Clostridiales, essentially, the ‘good’ bacteria, the tumors grew more slowly. This hindrance of tumor growth did not occur as prominently in the case of mice who received the ‘bad’ bacteria.Related: Tea That Kills Cancer Cells
2. What This Means
Based on the fact that the presence of specific bacteria, along with a more diverse microbiome in the first place, led to more effective immunotherapy results, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that a healthier microbiome creates a better foundation for immunotherapy treatments. A lack of diversity, perhaps caused by antibiotics, may hinder the success of immunotherapy treatments for cancer. This paves the way for encouraging not just a healthy microbiome, but one tailored specifically for facilitating anti-cancer activity from the immune system. This could revolutionize cancer treatments, certainly, but the applications could also be applied to other serious, difficult illnesses.
1. Final Thought
Even with this sort of advancement in cancer treatment, it is unlikely that the microbiome will solve all of our medical woes. However, a greater understanding of bodily processes will certainly do more harm than good. Some key things to consider are other factors that may cause individuals to respond differently to immunotherapy. This will require an in-depth study of the various bacteria that make up the microbiome. Identifying the role of each type of bacteria can lead to advances for numerous diseases. The potential is quite vast, and so far, it seems we have only scratched the surface.Related: 20 Things Science Has Linked to Cancer