A new study looking at melanoma and the gut microbiome found that there is a link between bacterial composition and response to immunotherapy, says Dr. Miriam Stoppard
Image: Getty Images)
A healthy gut that contains the right mix of bacteria is being linked to increasingly surprising health benefits, ranging from your heart to yours Mental health.
And here’s another thing: it could get better Cancer treatments.
This is the conclusion reached by researchers from five clinical centers in the UK and across Europe studying our gut microbiome – the bacterial population in our digestive system.
Their study gathered the largest group of patients with melanoma — a type of skin cancer — and matched samples of their gut microbiome.
The researchers performed genetic sequencing of the bacteria to see if there was a link between their composition and response to immunotherapy.
This cancer treatment works by helping immune system Recognizing and attacking cancer cells.
But less than half of patients with melanoma respond positively to immunotherapy, so finding new strategies is crucial.
Our microbiome can be altered through dietary changes, stool transplants and next-generation probiotics.
This change, in turn, changes the effect of the microbiome on the immune system.
Understanding the characteristics of the microbiome could allow physicians who deal with cancer to alter a patient’s before starting treatment to improve its effectiveness.
“Preliminary studies in a limited number of patients have shown that the gut microbiome, as a regulator of the immune system, plays a role in each patient’s response to cancer immunotherapy, particularly in the case of melanoma,” says first author Dr. Karla Lee. from the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London.
“This new study could have a major impact on oncology and medicine in general.”
The results confirmed a complex relationship, as different types of bacteria are involved in different patient groups.
Three types of bacteria (Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, Roseburia spp., and Akkermansia muciniphila) appear to be associated with better response to treatment.
“This study shows that survival chances based on healthy microbes almost doubled between subgroups,” says Professor Tim Spector, also from King’s College London.
“The ultimate goal is to identify which specific features of the microbiome directly influence the clinical usefulness of immunotherapy in order to use these features in new personalized approaches to support cancer immunotherapy.
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“But in the meantime, this study underscores the potential impact of good nutrition and gut health on the chances of survival in patients undergoing immunotherapy.”
Co-author Professor Nicola Segata from the University of Trento in Italy said: “Our study shows that examining the microbiome is important to improve and personalize immunotherapy treatments for melanoma.”
More studies are needed due to person-to-person variations in the microbiome, but it’s an exciting start.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/having-happy-gut-right-mix-26843859 "A healthy gut with the right mix of bacteria could improve cancer treatment" - Miriam Stoppard