Suppressing activity of common intestinal bacteria reduces tumor growth

May 9, 2010, University of California - San Diego

A team of University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers has discovered that common intestinal bacteria appear to promote tumor growths in genetically susceptible mice, but that tumorigenesis can be suppressed if the mice are exposed to an inhibiting protein enzyme.

The research, said lead author Eyal Raz, MD, a professor of medicine at UC San Diego, could portend an eventual new form of treatment for people with familial adenomatous polyposis or FAP, an inherited condition in which numerous initially benign polyps form in the large intestine, eventually transforming into malignant .

The research appears online May 9 in the journal Nature Medicine.

Raz, with colleagues at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Wonkwang University in the Republic of Korea, looked at interactions between the vast numbers of bacteria typically found in the and the tract's mucosal lining. Ordinarily, the bacteria and tract establish a kind of . "In a normal host, these bacteria actually serve important roles, such as supporting cell production," said Raz. "But in susceptible hosts, the presence of these bacteria turns out to be detrimental."

Specifically, Raz and his co-authors found that with an engineered mutation that closely mimics FAP in humans leaves the mice notably vulnerable to inflammatory factors produced by ordinary bacterial activity. The constant inflammation enhances expression of an called c-Myc. Very quickly, the mice develop numerous tumors in their intestines and typically do not survive past six months of age.

In humans, FAP can be equally devastating. It is a in which patients at a young age begin to develop hundreds to thousands of polyps in their intestine. By age 35, 95 percent of individuals with FAP have polyps. The polyps start out benign, but ultimately become malignant without treatment. Current treatment essentially consists of prophylactic surgery -- removal of the polyps before they turn cancerous.

"Right now, people with FAP don't have many options," said Raz. "They develop the cancer relatively early in life and the only treatment is surgery, often a total colectomy - the removal of the entire colon. And that still doesn't preclude the possibility of developing tumors elsewhere in the body."

That's why the second part of the study was especially encouraging, Raz said. When researchers administered a called extracellular signal-related kinase or ERK, it appeared to suppress intestinal turmorigenesis in the mice, causing cancer proteins to degrade more rapidly and increasing the survival time of the mice. If the inhibiting enzyme, which is currently undergoing clinical trials elsewhere, proves to be safe and effective, researchers say it eventually could provide FAP patients with another option other than surgery.

"This is a clear case of nature and nurture in molecular biology," said Raz. "Nature is the host, who in some cases is going to be genetically predisposed to develop certain diseases. Nurture is the environment, which in this case is bacterial activity and its effects. The mechanism for what's happening here with these mice and tumor growth is very clear. We know what we want and need to do."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

KBK
2 / 5 (4) May 09, 2010
At least a few hundred people (killed, garroted, burned to death, blown up, discredited, etc) who are not allowed to produce anything that gets into mainstream science have been saying, for nearly ~100 YEARS~, that cancers are all of bacterial and/or viral origin.

So finding that a given item or methodology involving the curtailing of fungi or bacteria will somehow limit tumors comes to no surprise to those of us who live with our eyes open.

At this time, cancer/medicine is a trillion dollar business. Some people kill others for money and power. It's called war, business, militarization, and politics. The same kind of low empathy animalistic people get into medicine, too, you know. For the very same reasons.

Do you think that common sense working cures can stop that Juggernaut?
blazingspark
1 / 5 (1) May 10, 2010
At least a few hundred people (killed, garroted, burned to death, blown up, discredited, etc) who are not allowed to produce anything that gets into mainstream science have been saying, for nearly ~100 YEARS~, that cancers are all of bacterial and/or viral origin.

So finding that a given item or methodology involving the curtailing of fungi or bacteria will somehow limit tumors comes to no surprise to those of us who live with our eyes open.

At this time, cancer/medicine is a trillion dollar business. Some people kill others for money and power. It's called war, business, militarization, and politics. The same kind of low empathy animalistic people get into medicine, too, you know. For the very same reasons.

Do you think that common sense working cures can stop that Juggernaut?


So you think you have the cure for cancer now? cmon.. be honest now!
satcat
1 / 5 (1) May 10, 2010

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.