Outnumbering our own cells more than 10 to one, the microbes thriving peacefully in the human body help keep us healthy. Recently, research findings have showed that microbial guests may also aid in the treatment of disease. Some of those studies were summarised by Elisabeth Pennisi in the “News and analysis” section of the Science Magazine, in an article titled “Cancer therapies use a little help from microbial friends”, in November 2013.
Pennisi highlighted two studies carried out in mice that illustrated the complex interplay of microbial activity and function with the immune system and therapies. In particular, the authors of both studies found that gut bacteria bolstered the effects of three antitumor regimens by priming the immune system. In each case, when a mouse’s microbial residents were missing—as when antibiotics are given—the treatments were far less effective. Investigators warned against applying the mice findings to people, but already one of the researchers is being more cautious about prescribing antibiotics for her cancer patients.
To read the full summary, please visit the link below.