A recent international study, published in Nature Communications, finds that gut microbiome can boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.
During the study, a team of researchers identified 11 strains of gut bacteria which helped the immune system to slow down the growth of melanoma tumors in mice. The scientists highlighted a signaling pathway called unfolded protein response (UPR) as a major link between the gut bacteria and the fighting ability of the immune system.
Senior study author Ze’ev Ronai, a professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys, says: “These results […] identify a collection of bacterial strains that could turn on antitumor immunity and biomarkers that could be used to stratify people with melanoma for treatment with select checkpoint inhibitors.”
Researchers from the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence and the KU Cancer Center and KU Medical Center in Kansas City, both USA, developed an ultrasensitive device that can detect cancer in just a drop of blood.
The device is called a 3-D nanopatterned microfluidic chip. It can detect cancer markers in the smallest quantity of whole blood or in plasma by filtering for exosomes, tiny vesicles that some eukaryotic cell produce. Cancer exosomes contain biological information about tumor growth and spread.
Lead author Yong Zeng, an associate professor of chemistry at KU, comments: “Almost all mammalian cells release exosomes, so the application is not just limited to ovarian cancer or any one type of cancer. We’re working with people to look at neurodegenerative diseases, breast, and colorectal cancer, for example.”
A team of scientists from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing, China, developed a DNA platform able to carry chemotherapy drugs into specific cancer cells as well as silence the cells’ drug-resistant genes.
The team has successfully tested the ability of the DNA platform to selectively deliver RNA transcription templates and the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin in cell cultures and then in mice with multidrug-resistant tumors.
The received results demonstrated that the DNA tool was efficient both at the selective delivery and release of the two items which also led to a highly-selected tumor kill rate.
The authors conclude in their paper: “This tailored DNA nanoplatform, which combines RNAi therapy and chemotherapy, provides a new strategy for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumors.”
A new study, published in the journal Food & Function, suggests that lactoferrin, a protein found in milk, could be used as a treatment of taste and smell disorders in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Previously, a team of researchers identified the role of lactoferrin in diminishing the metallic flavor stimulated by chemotherapy medications. The substance is well-known as a first-line defense, aiding the body’s immune response, but its ability to impact salivary proteins stays little-studied. The most recent study builds on the previous body of work through the application of lactoferrin supplements in treating taste and smell abnormalities.
Researcher Susan Duncan says: “By suggesting lactoferrin as a dietary supplement, we can reduce taste and smell abnormalities (TSA) for many patients, restoring their ability to enjoy foods during a time in which nutrition can play a key role in their recovery. This research could help us develop TSA-targeted biomarkers and strategies for improving the quality of life during chemotherapy. Cancer patients and their supporting family and friends may again find comfort in enjoying a meal together.”
A new study finds that in the process of digestion of such green vegetables as kale, cabbage, and broccoli a protein, known as aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), is activated that reduces gut inflammation and prevents the colon form of cancer.
For the study, a team of researchers analyzed genetically modified mice that were not able to produce or activate AhR in their intestines. These rodents developed gut inflammation that led to bowel cancer, while those animals who were fed with green vegetables didn’t develop gut inflammation.
Lead author of the study Dr. Amina Metidji says: “Interestingly when mice whose cancer was already developing were switched to the [green vegetable]-enriched diet, they ended up with significantly fewer tumors which were also more benign. It’s not just fiber in vegetables that reduces the risk of bowel cancer.”
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