Saturday November 17, 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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Feeding Probiotics to Infants Daily May Reduce Antibiotic Prescription in Future

For the study, the team pooled data from twelve studies together. The probiotics used in the reviewed studies were strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium

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Probiotics
Can probiotic use help reduce antibiotic prescriptions in children? Find it out here.

Feeding probiotics to infants and children daily may significantly stave off the need for antibiotic treatment, a finding that may help address the global rise in drug-resistant infections, said researchers.

The study found that infants and children were 29 per cent less likely to have been prescribed antibiotics if they received probiotics as a daily health supplement.

The results, published in the European Journal of Public Health, are very intriguing, the researchers said.

“Given this finding, potentially one way to reduce the use of antibiotics is to use probiotics on a regular basis,” said Daniel Merenstein, professor at Georgetown University.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance occurred among 500,000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.

Reducing the use of antibiotics is one strategy in combating resistance.

Kids
Say no to your kids for junk food, instead add healthy snacks. Pixabay

“We already have evidence that consuming probiotics reduces the incidence, duration, and severity of certain types of common acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections,” Merenstein said.

However, it is not clear how probiotics help fight infections.

Merenstein said: “There are many potential mechanisms, such as probiotic production of pathogen inhibitors, immune regulation, among others.

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“We don’t know all the mechanisms probiotic strains may leverage. But since most of the human immune system is found in the gastrointestinal tract, ingesting healthy bacteria may competitively exclude bacterial pathogens linked to gut infections and may prime the immune system to fight others,” he explained.

For the study, the team pooled data from twelve studies together. The probiotics used in the reviewed studies were strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. (IANS)