Sunday January 20, 2019

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
  • 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

Next Story

Aspirin Considered Safe in Lowering Bowel Cancer Risk

Importantly, treatment with aspirin and EPA was safe with no increased bleeding risk

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Aspirin, Ovarian cancer
Aspirin pills are arranged on a counter in New York, Aug. 23, 2018. New studies find most people won't benefit from taking daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. (VOA)

Intake of aspirin and omega-3 is safe and effective at reducing chances of bowel cancer in high-risk patients, according to a new clinical trial.

In the trial, published in the journal The Lancet, these low-cost drugs reduced the number of pre-cancerous polyps — a small growth, usually benign — in patients found to be at high risk of developing bowel cancer.

The findings showed that patients who took aspirin had 22 per cent fewer polyps compared to those who took the placebo.

Those who took omega-3, also called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) had 9 per cent fewer polyps compared to those who took the placebo.

Although aspirin and EPA had beneficial effects on polyp numbers individually, the combination of aspirin and EPA together appeared to have an even greater effect, as it provided another layer of prevention, alongside colonoscopy, the researchers said.

“The trial demonstrates that both aspirin and EPA have preventative effects, which is particularly exciting given that they are both relatively cheap and safe compounds to give to patients,” said Mark Hull, Professor at the University of Leeds in the UK.

In the trial the team included over 700 patients, all of whom had a higher risk of developing bowel cancer after having a colonoscopy.

Previous research has shown that obesity and high-fat diets both together and independently increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Aspirin and omega-3 safe, lower bowel cancer risk: Study. Pixabay

Participants took either a 300 milligram aspirin tablet, 2 grams EPA in four capsules, a combination of both aspirin and EPA, or placebos only.

The results showed both aspirin and omega-3 reduced the number of bowel polyps in patients one year on from a screening colonoscopy (large bowel camera test).

However, they did not reduce the chances of an individual having any polyps present in the bowel.

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Importantly, treatment with aspirin and EPA was safe with no increased bleeding risk.

However, individuals who took EPA on its own had a slight increase in stomach upset symptoms.

Further research is needed to test aspirin and EPA treatment together for polyp prevention, the researchers noted. (IANS)