Can we treat cancer with the microbiota?

We heard a lot of correlations between microbiota modifications and cancer development, particularly colorectal cancer. Many different species have been associated with the tumor state and some have also demonstrated to be causative as Fusobacterium nucleatum.

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We focused on microbiota members that are underrepresented in the early stages of tumorigenesis and found a mouse strain (Faecalibaculum rodentium PB1) and its human counterpart (Holdemanella biformis) to be underepresented in mouse models or human intestinal advanced adenoma patients. Both strains release short chain fatty acids and control tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. 
This is just the beginning of identification of microbiota members that might eventually be used to treat cancer. 

Maria Rescigno

Professor, Humanitas University

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