Wednesday July 18, 2018

How gut bacteria, broccoli can help keep colorectal cancer away

Researchers have developed a cocktail of bacteria and cruciferous vegetables that can potentially turn into a targeting system that seeks out and kills colorectal cancer cells.

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Using genetic techniques, scientists engineered the bacteria into a probiotic. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide.
  • The broccoli extracts can now be used to reduce the tumour size and terminate cancer.
  • Scientists have created a probiotic which will get cancer cells to kill themselves.

Researchers have developed a cocktail of bacteria and cruciferous vegetables that can potentially turn into a targeting system that seeks out and kills colorectal cancer cells.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, after lung and prostate cancer.

Although the 5-year survival rates for earlier stages of this cancer are relatively good, at later stages survival goes down and the risk of cancer recurrence goes up considerably.

Broccoli can help reduce bowel cancer.
Broccoli can help reduce bowel cancer.

Thus researchers, from the National University of Singapore, developed a mixture of engineered probiotics with a broccoli extract or water containing the dietary substance.

This mixture killed more than 95 percent of colorectal cancer cells in a dish.

Further, the probiotics-veggie combination also reduced tumour numbers by 75 percent in mice with colorectal cancer.

However, the mixture had no effect on cells from other types of cancer such as breast and stomach cancer.

These probiotics could be used as prevention and to clean up the cancer cells remaining after surgical removal of tumours, the researchers said.

“One day, colorectal cancer patients may be able to take the probiotics as a dietary supplement along with broccoli to prevent colorectal cancer or to reduce recurrence after cancer surgery,” said lead author Chun-Loong Ho from the varsity.

Broccoli when used as a dietary supplement can help reduce the risk of cancer. Image source: huffingtonpost.ca
Broccoli, when used as a dietary supplement, can help reduce the risk of cancer. Image source: huffingtonpost.ca

For the study, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team developed a cancer-targeting system by engineering a form of E.coli Nissle — a harmless type of bacteria found in the gut.

Then using genetic techniques, they engineered the bacteria into a probiotic that attached to the surface of colorectal cancer cells and secreted an enzyme to convert a substance found in broccoli, into a potent anticancer agent.

The idea was for the cancer cells in the vicinity to take up this anticancer agent and be killed. IANS

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Probiotics Can Halve Risk of Bone Loss in Elderly Women

Worldwide, one in three women over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one in five men over the same age

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Probiotics Can Halve Risk of Bone Loss in Elderly Women
Probiotics Can Halve Risk of Bone Loss in Elderly Women. (IANS)

Apart from keeping your gut healthy, consuming a diet rich in probiotics — also called as “good” or “helpful” bacteria — may cut the risk of osteoporosis, an age-related bone loss condition that causes fractures among one in three women over age 50 worldwide, finds a study.

In the study, older women who received probiotics, the risk of bone loss was halved compared to women who received only a placebo.

“Older women are at risk the most of osteoporosis and fractures. Treatment with probiotics can be an effective and safe way to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in many older people in the future,” said Mattias Lorentzon, Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Brittleness of the bones, or osteoporosis, is characterised by porous and weak bones, which can cause them to break even when subjected to low loads, such as a fall from a standing height.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the condition causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every three seconds.

bone loss
Representational image.

Worldwide, one in three women over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one in five men over the same age.

The findings, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, also opens the door to a new way to prevent fractures among the elderly.

For the study, the team ingested a powder that contained either Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 bacteria — health-promoting bacteria — or a placebo every day for a whole year in nearly 100 elderly women, 76 years old on average.

Also Read: Probiotics Not Effective in Reducing Anxiety: Study

The women who received the powder with active bacteria had lost only half as much bone in the skeleton compared with those who received inactive powders.

“Another positive outcome from the study was that the treatment was well tolerated and did not produce more side effects than those experienced by women who received the placebo,” the researchers noted. (IANS)