‘Good’ gut bacteria can help prevent cancer

New York: Anti-inflammatory properties of gut bacteria can slow or stop the development of some types of cancer, finds a new study conducted on mice.

In mice with more of the beneficial bacteria, the blood cell tumours took significantly longer to form.

The mice that received good bacteria lived four times longer and had less DNA damage and inflammation. Also, the mice microbiota produced metabolites that are known to prevent cancer.

Further, the mice showed increased efficient fat and oxidative metabolism which, the researchers believe, might also lower the risk for cancer.

The study, published online in the journal PLOS ONE, explains how intestinal microbiota might delay the onset of cancer, suggesting that probiotic supplements could help keep cancer from forming.

“Ultimately, doctors might be able to reduce a person’s risk for cancer by analysing the levels and types of intestinal bacteria in the body and then prescribing probiotics to replace or bolster the amount of bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties,” said Robert Schiestl, professor at the University of California.

Researchers analysed a bacterium called Lactobacillus johnsonii 456 — the most abundant of the beneficial bacteria.

The study lends credence to the notion that manipulating microbial composition could be used as an effective strategy to prevent or alleviate cancer susceptibility.

“In the future, it is our hope that the use of probiotics-containing (supplements) would be a potential chemopreventive for normal humans, while the same type of microbiota would decrease tumour incidence in cancer susceptible populations,” the researchers suggested.